Indian doctors likely to be more in demand in UK post Brexit

India is the largest source country of doctors in the NHS after Britain — there are currently 25,281 doctors who gained their medical qualifications in India.
Figures show that Indian doctors are the most complained against among non-EU trained doctors.((Representational Photo/Getty Images))
Figures show that Indian doctors are the most complained against among non-EU trained doctors.((Representational Photo/Getty Images))
Updated on Apr 13, 2017 01:51 AM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times, London | By

Britain has long depended on doctors from India to run the National Health Service (NHS) since it was founded in 1948, but the reliance is likely to increase after the UK leaves the European Union and EU-trained doctors will no longer have the right to work here.

India is the largest source country of doctors in the NHS after Britain — there are currently 25,281 doctors who gained their medical qualifications in India. Considered the backbone of NHS, they are often hailed for their contribution to Britain.

However, the nature of migration of Indian doctors has changed over the years. From thousands coming to Britain to work and settle, the recent trend sees more doctors come to train and return back to India, as the growing health sector back home provides more lucrative opportunities.

Ramesh Mehta, president of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (Bapio), said on Wednesday that the experience of Indian doctors in the NHS had not always been positive, but revealed that new systems had been put in place to improve the situation.

Mehta told Hindustan Times: “Britain’s historical dependence on India for doctors and health professionals will increase after Brexit. Many patients died when EU-trained doctors with poor English and other skills worked in the NHS, but they could not be barred as the UK is a member of the EU.

“But after Brexit, they will not have the automatic right to work, which will turn the NHS more towards India - again - to meet the thousands of vacancies, given the acknowledged better clinical and language skills of India doctors.”

Figures show that Indian doctors are the most complained against among non-EU trained doctors. A new report by experts at the University College London this week revealed that they are five times more likely to face inquiries than their UK-trained counterparts.

However, Mehta said the data used in the UCL study was until 2013; the higher number of complaints could be due to unconscious bias or institutional racism, but a new standard put in place in all hospitals was considerably changing the situation.

Since 2014, all NHS organisations are mandated to follow the Workforce Race Equality Standard that seeks to ensure employees from black and minority ethnic communities have equal access to career opportunities and receive fair treatment in the workplace.

“After it was put in place, all NHS organisations have been contacting Bapio to help in culture change. This is a good sign; there is slow but steady progress. The establishment is listening to us. Bapio has been working to this end for the last 20 years,” Mehta said.

According to latest figures of the General Medical Council, only 695 new Indian doctors registered in 2016, following the dwindling numbers per year since the high of 3640 in 2004. Many settled Indian doctors in the NHS have also taken up jobs in India in recent years.

Mehta said that under a new programme which starts later this year, groups of Indian doctors will come to Britain on a rotation basis for two or three years (not leading to settlement), and return after gaining valuable training experience.

“We are partnering with the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences and other such Indian universities to send new graduates. It is a win-win situation for both countries: the UK gets doctors to fill vacancies and India benefits from valuable training here,” he said. 


    Prasun Sonwalkar was Editor (UK & Europe), Hindustan Times. During more than three decades, he held senior positions on the Desk, besides reporting from India’s north-east and other states, including a decade covering politics from New Delhi. He has been reporting from UK and Europe since 1999.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • In this screen shot from video of her 2016 court appearance, romance writer Nancy Crampton Brophy appears in Multnomah County Circuit Court in Portland.

    She wrote on 'how to murder your husband'. Then her husband was found dead

    A writer who penned a piece titled "How To Murder Your Husband" is on trial in the United States for...killingnovelist Nancy Crampton Brophy'sr husband. Prosecutors say the 71-year-old writer was struggling to make payments on her mortgage, but kept up multiple life assurance policies that would pay out a total of $1.4 million in the event of hDandemise. Daniel Brophy, 63, was found dead that morning by students readying for a class.

  • Right now, about a third of the US population lives in areas that are considered at higher risk — mostly in the Northeast and Midwest.

    Covid-19: A third of US should be considering masks, officials say

    Covid-19 cases are increasing in the United States — and could get even worse over the coming months, federal health officials warned Wednesday in urging areas hardest hit to consider reissuing calls for indoor masking. Increasing numbers of Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations are putting more of the country under guidelines issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that call for masking and other infection precautions.

  • A Member of the FBI search for evidence at the scene of a weekend shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, on May 18, 2022. 

    New York: 911 dispatcher who took Buffalo shooting call put on leave

    A 911 dispatcher has been placed on leave and may lose her job after allegedly hanging up on an supermarket employee hiding during this weekend's shooting rampage in Buffalo, New York. “Termination will be sought” for the dispatcher at a disciplinary hearing later this month, said spokesperson for the executive of Erie County, Peter Anderson, in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday. Anderson said it's unclear who hung up on whom.

  • An image from April of Sri Lanka Air Force members guarding the Prime Minister's official residence, Temple Trees, amid the country's economic crisis, in Colombo. (REUTERS)

    Sri Lanka economic crisis: CID interrogates 4 MPs over attacks on protesters

    A team of Sri Lanka's Criminal Investigations Department have questioned four Members of Parliament (MPs), including two former ministers, over last week's violence against protesters at two protest sites in Colombo, the country's largest city, local media has reported. According to reports, a CID team arrived at the Parliament Complex on Wednesday to interrogate--with the Speaker's permission--and record the statements of Rohitha Abeygunawardena and CB Ratnayake, both former ministers.

  • An image created during an investigation into an outbreak of monkeypox, which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), 1996 to 1997, shows the hands of a patient with a rash due to monkeypox.

    US reports 1st monkeypox case of 2022: 10 things to know

    Though this is the first confirmed case in the United States, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is preparing for the possibility of more monkeypox cases. Here are 10 things to know about monkeypox and the 1st case in the United States in 2022 1. The Massachusetts man travelled to Canada at the end of April to meet friends and returned in early May. This is the first case of monkeypox this year.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, May 19, 2022