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NRI doctors association's battle may open doors for Indian doctors

  • About 10,000 trainee doctors will have to leave the country if law did not changed
  • The court will decide end of August.

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UK court will decide on NRI doctors’ work permit

LONDON, July 25, 2006

In a positive response to NRI doctors protesting new immigration rules in the UK, a judge has permitted the hearing of their legal challenge against regulations which make it virtually impossible for non-EU physicians to get jobs in the government-funded National Health Service (NHS).

In a statement, the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) which has launched the legal battle, said the Department of Health and the Home Office have not followed due procedures, like appropriate consultations and undertaking of a Race Equality Impact Assessment when they brought about the new immigration rules.

The case is likely to be heard towards the end of August.

“This is excellent news and the first sniff of victory. This shows the strength of our case and that we have made out the legal argument well. The icing on the cake is that the court has also ordered that the hearing be expedited. This demonstrates that the court appreciated the hardships that a delay in resolving this matter could cause to the doctors affected,” BAPIO President Ramesh Mehta said.

BAPIO estimates that about 10,000 trainee doctors will have to leave the country half way through their training within months unless the rules are changed.

Raman Lakshman from BAPIO’s advisory council said, “Because of the new ruling, thousands of doctors who had passed the PLAB (Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board) test and were waiting for training jobs have lost hope and a large number have already returned home, angry. Things must change quickly to reduce the distress to those who are still here.”

Earlier BAPIO delegates were invited by Health Minister Lord Warner to discuss the concerns of international doctors.

Satheesh Mathew, who leads BAPIO’s London Division, said that the meeting was amicable and that they were able to raise many relevant issues with the minister.
Subsequently, BAPIO has met senior officials from the Department of Health to look at possible solutions.

Buddhdev Pandya, MBE, Honorary Corporate Advisor to BAPIO said: “The news from the Court is a good omen. However, we are happy that the Minister has opened dialogue with BAPIO which may have potential to resolve the problem