Indian docs will need work permit in UK | india | Hindustan Times
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Indian docs will need work permit in UK

The string of bad news for doctors from India or non-European Union countries continues, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2006 14:17 IST
Vijay Dutt

The string of bad news for doctors from India or any non-European Union countries continues. Now, all doctors wishing to work in the UK from outside the European Union will be required to have a work permit from July 2006, according to Health Minister Lord Warner.

At present, 117,036 overseas doctors are working in the National Health Service (NHS), an increase of 27,417 since 1997. Of these, almost 33 per cent are from Asia. Out of these, 16,000 are of Indian-origin and nearly 4,000 are second generation.

According to Dr Shiv Pande, who has been espousing the cause of jobless doctors, over 800 (64 per cent of this from South India) are living in misery.

A recent survey revealed that about 120 doctors across Britain even take up jobs as waiters and store attendants and queue up for free meals at temples and gurdwaras.

The new directive means that any NHS trust wishing to employ a doctor from outside the EU will have to prove that a 'home-grown' doctor cannot fill the vacant post, ending the current permit free training arrangement for international doctors.

Lord Warner said, "We now have more than 117,000 doctors working in the NHS, 27,400 more than in 1997, as well as record levels of doctors in training in UK medical schools. This investment and expansion, coupled with the reform of medical education, is leading to increased competition for medical posts as vacancy rates fall.”

So, he said, this is "to ensure that we are only recruiting doctors to the UK where we have a genuine skills shortage. NHS trusts will be required to get a work permit for every doctor that they wish to employ from outside the EU".

In future, international medical graduates who wish to work or train in the NHS will need a work permit. To obtain a work permit, an employer must show that a genuine vacancy exists, which cannot be filled with a resident worker.

Lord Warner, however, recognised that international doctors had made a huge contribution to the NHS since it was founded in 1948 and added that there would still be opportunities for overseas staff to come to the UK.

"We will continue to need small numbers of specialist doctors, who can bring their skills and experience to the NHS. However, the NHS will be less reliant on international medical recruitment," Lord Warner said.