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Support grows for Indian docs in UK

india Updated: Feb 19, 2007 12:36 IST

Support is growing from within the British medical community for Indian and other non-European Union doctors who have been adversely affected by changes to immigration rules.

The British Medical Association (BMA) strongly criticised the February 9 high court ruling that disallowed a judicial review of the changes made to immigration rules in April 2006.

The BMA believes that many Indian and other doctors will lose their jobs in the National Health Service (NHS) due to "shabby" and "unfair" rules.

The NHS was fast losing its reputation as a fair employer, it has said.

Meanwhile, Hospital Doctor, a news magazine for doctors, also came out in support of the overseas doctors and criticised the government for their plight.

Its editorial on the issue is titled 'There is no job worth dying for', which refers to Imran Yousaf, the Pakistan-origin doctor who committed suicide days before the February 9 ruling.

The editorial said: "The Government lied. Former health minister Lord Warner was last week exposed in the high court for failing to consult with overseas doctors groups over changes to immigration laws, despite his claims doctors were consulted.

"Alas, the government's failure to consult was not grounds to allow the judge to force a change in rules. And the fact that the government lied is neither here nor there. A judge's decision that the government lied changes nothing.

"The damage is already done. And was in fact done a year ago when the rule change was imposed.

As many as 16,000 IMGs (International Medical Graduates) could be left unemployed with little hope of pursuing their chosen career unless they choose to return to their country of origin or elsewhere. Australia is becoming a popular destination for many.

"And the decision has already been linked with the suicide of a young doctor. Facing the shame of returning home without the respect provided by a UK medical job proved too much for Dr Imran Yousaf. The death of Dr Yousaf puts this lying Government to shame.

"There is no need to follow his lead, IMGs can still put some small hope on an appeal. But there is more to life than this profession.

If you are in despair contact the BMA or BAPIO or Hospital doctor or any of dozens of advisory services out there, who will treat you with respect and confidentiality."

Edwin Borman, of the BMA, told the BBC: "It's meant that doctors coming from abroad have not been able to plan adequately with regard to their career. Many have been stuck with big mortgages and no career prospects."

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