The Indian government has assured assistance to doctors of Indian origin who are unable to find work in the National Health Service (NHS) in London due to changes in immigration rules.
Thousands of Indian doctors have been affected by the changes that make it difficult for non-European Union doctors to find employment in the NHS. The changes were made in April 2006, and have since been the subject of litigation.
The assurance was given by Health Minister Abumani Ramadoss to representatives of the British Association of Physicians of Indian origin (BAPIO), which has been in the forefront of launching legal challenges to the changes to immigration rules.
Ramadoss met BAPIO president Ramesh Mehta and vice-chair Umesh Prabhu during his stopover here from New York on way to New Delhi earlier this week.
The minister expressed concern over the way Indian doctors were being treated and added that this could affect several medical research collaborations between India and Britain.
He said he would write to Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt, asking her to ensure that Indian doctors would be treated fairly and equally. He commended BAPIO's work for doctors of Indian origin in Britain.
Ramadoss assured BAPIO that the Indian government would provide assistance in finding appropriate jobs for doctors who want to return to India. He also promised to work on ensuring that their British qualifications and training was properly recognized.
Mehta said: "We were very happy to meet the minister and were impressed with his understanding of the issues facing Indian doctors in the UK. BAPIO is grateful for all that the government of India is doing to help the affected doctors."
Raman Lakshman, BAPIO vice-chair (policy), said: "We are confident this meeting has set in motion the beginnings of a close and fruitful relationship between BAPIO and the government of India."