Coronavirus update: Stranded, ailing Indians in UK offered medical aid
Doctors and pharmacists in the Indian diaspora in the UK have been extending medicines and consultation to hundreds of ailing Indians stranded here due to the lockdown, who have run out of medicines or need medical consultation.
Medicines in the UK are dispensed strictly on the basis of prescriptions issued by a general practitioner or other doctors in the National Health Service to patients registered. These are usually not freely available to visitors on temporary visas.
The Indian high commission on Sunday coordinated an interaction by video-link with diaspora groups such as the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (Bapio), Jain Vishwa Bharti, Friends of India Society International and the Indian National Students Association. A large number of Indian-origin professionals work in Britain’s health system.
According to Ramesh Mehta, president of Bapio, the group’s members have been giving prescriptions and holding consultations with the stranded Indians without charging fee. The medicines are provided by a Bristol-based pharmacy that dispenses and posts medicines on a no-profit basis.
“We are delighted to support the hundreds of stranded Indian travellers and students who need medical help, and will continue to do so until it is needed. No fee is charged by our medical professionals”, Mehta said.
Thousands of Indians have registered with the high commission in a list of people who are stranded and need to return home. Charter flights are expected to be organised later this month, with those in emergency situation offered priority.
Rohit Wadhwana of the high commission said: “We have facilitated prescriptions, and Indians who needed the medicines were able to get them. Some had illnesses that needed continuing provision of medicines. Many had stock for their travel period but now that the lockdown has been extended it is over. Some need examination, consultation”, he added.
The Boris Johnson government has extended until May 31 the visa for free of Indians whose period has or is expiring until then, while the high commission and diaspora groups and individuals have been extending a range of services to the stranded Indians, including financial and legal.