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UK docs told not fear the Indian challenge

The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin says British graduates needn't worry about jobs as they are "extremely well trained".

india Updated: Dec 14, 2007 11:49 IST

Delighted at the recent favourable court ruling on Indian and other non-European Union doctors, the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (Bapio) told a House of Commons committee that British graduates had no reason to fear competition for jobs because they were "extremely well trained".

In a submission to the House of Commons Health Select Committee as part of its Modernising Medical Careers inquiry Thursday, Bapio noted that there was concern regarding the paucity of training places compared to the number of applicants.

"It has been implied that this is primarily due to IMG (international medical graduates) applicants on HSMP (highly skilled migrants programme). We disagree with this assumption.

"At the end of round one of MTAS (medical training applications service) 2007 process, HSMP doctors obtained 2,679 of 14,247 appointments (around 18 percent of all appointments) while 10,856 of 14,247 appointments (76 percent) went to UK graduates, and UK and EU citizens," Bapio said.

"We expect that the appointment rates for UK and EU nationals would be even higher at the end of round two. The majority of unsuccessful UK candidates would have applied to highly competitive specialties like surgery and orthopaedics", it added.

Bapio said that the competition from HSMP holders for training posts in the National Health Service (NHS) will decrease dramatically in the future. It was "very difficult" for a newly arrived IMG to accumulate enough points to apply for HSMP status, it added.

In its submission to the committee, Bapio said: "There is a need for urgent and comprehensive workforce estimations which are specific to specialities and regions. Entry of IMGs in the future may be regulated by requirements dictated by such workforce estimates. All IMGs who will then work in the UK should be treated solely on merit for job appointments.

Recalling the recent court judgement in favour of Indian and other overseas doctors, Bapio said that there was a strong argument that the Department of Health, as one of the largest employers in the world, should set a good example and show due regard to the principle of equality of opportunity in recruitment of its work force.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health is reported to be seeking permission from the House of Lords to appeal to the Lords following the court judgement. The Bapio is opposed to this.

Ramesh Mehta, president of Bapio, said: "It is time that the Department of Health opens up a dialogue with Bapio and other organisation to find a solution to problem of too many doctors for the available training posts rather than wasting time in the courts."

Satheesh Mathew, Bapio vice chair, said: "We are prepared to go to the House of Lords and even to the European court of justice if necessary."