Indian doctors fighting for job parity with European Union (EU) medicos won a landmark verdict against the British government when the country's highest court ruled as illegal discrimination against overseas candidates for employment in state health services.
<b1>In a four-to-one majority verdict, the Lords Committee dismissed the government's appeal against a court order last October in favour of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), which challenged an April 2006 guideline to hospitals to employ other doctors only if no EU candidates were available.
The order, delivered in the House of Lords, dealt a death blow to the Department of Health’s move to retrospectively introduce visa regulations to restrict non-EU doctors in the UK from applying for training jobs.
The judgment upheld the plea of BAPIO — which represents 39,000 doctors of Indian origin — against the Department of Health guideline.
It was a hard-fought victory for BAPIO, which had taken up the cause of junior doctors, of which 12,000 were of Indian-origin. Previously, the high court had upheld BAPIO's claim that the Home Office had failed to conduct a Race Equality Impact Assessment, a legal necessity.
After that decision, over 4,000 doctors of Indian origin successfully applied for training jobs. Now, over 8,000 would be able to apply for National Health Service (NHS) employment, BAPIO's vice-chair for policy Dr Raman Lakshman told the Hindustan Times.
A jubilant Dr Ramesh Mehta, BAPIO president, said: “The House of Lords has vindicated our position that the government acted in haste, without thinking through the damaging consequences for thousands of international medical graduates.”
Dr Satheesh Matthew, vice-chair of BAPIO's operations said: “Many careers were destroyed. This ruling will give hope to doctors still in the UK.”