Doctors of Indian origin have won yet another reprieve in the ongoing recruitment to trainee jobs in Britain's National Health Service (NHS). The health authorities has agreed to remove a restrictive clause in rules applicable to non-European Union doctors.
At the high court, the Department of Health counsel 'conceded' to the case brought by the British Association of Physicians of Indian origin (BAPIO). The organisation had last week secured an injunction against the restrictive clause.
Said Ramesh Mehta, president of BAPIO: "For the first time a clear message has been sent out that promises made to international medical graduates must be kept. Doctors under the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme (HSMP) were allowed to make UK their home; HSMP doctors must be treated at par with UK and EEA (European Economic Area) nationals and there is no basis for discriminating against them."
Last Sunday, BAPIO obtained the emergency injunction to prevent discrimination of doctors on HSMP visa whose visa were due for renewal before August 1 in the first round of the current recruitment for 21,000 training jobs.
BAPIO said this was necessary because while the Department of Health had agreed to keep the new rules discriminating against HSMP doctors in abeyance, it had introduced a new clause stating that to be considered for the interview these doctors must have HSMP visa that was current on August 1, 2007.
BAPIO believed that this would disadvantage many international doctors whose visa came up for renewal before this date and hence filed for and obtained this injunction.
Raman Lakshman, vice-chair (Policy), said: "We had many doctors writing to us expressing concern that they will be refused an interview even though they had been shortlisted. We therefore had no option but to file for the injunction.
"We were sure we would have won if the case had been heard. We are pleased that the Department of Health has conceded and we hope there will be no further obstacles for HSMP doctors."