Prominent dentistry expert Raman Bedi has been appointed chairman of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), which espouses the interests of South Asian doctors in Britain.
BAPIO has been in the forefront in mounting a legal challenge to work rules that came into effect in April. The changes effectively made it difficult for doctors of Indian origin to seek employment in the National Health Service (NHS).
A BAPIO-sponsored case is scheduled for hearing in the court Dec 7 and 8. As far as BAPIO is concerned, the term 'physicians of Indian origin' refers to those born in all countries of the Indian sub-continent.
Bedi, director of the Global Child Dental Health Taskforce, said: "It is a great honour to be given this unique role and I look forward to helping to progress and support BAPIO's interests. A significant number of NHS health professionals are of Indian origin and their contribution to British society has been considerable.
"To chair BAPIO when the country is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Race Relations Act (1976) is significant and an opportunity for its members to celebrate the great contribution they and many others have made to multi-ethnic Britain."
Ramesh Mehta, president of BAPIO, said: "We are delighted that Bedi has accepted our invitation to be the chairman. His experience and enthusiasm will be a great asset to the organisation."
Bedi has held the office of chief dental officer (England). He is based in King's College, London, as a professor. He is a specialist in both dental public health and paediatric dentistry and established the Global Child Dental Health Taskforce in January 2006 after 40 senior dental advisors and chief dental officers called for its formation.
As chief dental officer at the Department of Health (2002-05), he oversaw the implementation of significant changes in NHS dentistry. Bedi is also co-director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.
BAPIO, launched in 1998 in response to the significant contributions made by physicians of Indian origin in building and sustaining NHS, is an influential minority ethnic medical organisation in Britain.
It meets regularly with the Department of Health and the Home Office to discuss how its members can contribute to the NHS and overseas delivery of healthcare. BAPIO has over 2,500 members and holds regular regional meetings in Britain.
Previously awarded the 2005 BAPIO National Award for Outstanding Service, Bedi succeeds Romesh Gupta as chairman.