Doctors undergoing training abroad are facing a sudden turn of events, after the change in the immigration rule, which stipulates that non-EU doctors need to possess work permits to train with the NHS.
This will obviously leave many thousands in quandary and render them jobless. The government on its part says this move is motivated with an interest to safeguard the posts for UK graduates, due to supply of doctors exceeding the demand.
UK has been a witness to an increasing trend of graduates from overseas medical and dental schools to train under the NHS as junior doctors, without any VISA restrictions for two years.
The visa-free deal was instituted to surmount the paucity of NHS doctors, but this led to doctors in many numbers, even from India, to join the NHS's expansion plan. Now with the new rule, the doctors and dentists will not be entitled for any training positions without a work permit.
This change in the immigration rules might leave many doctors jobless and many trainees without the necessary qualification, and in huge financial debt, which may perforce lead them to leave the country.
Dr Ramesh Mehta of Bapio said "A lot of new, budding doctors enthusiastically seek to complete their training in Britain because of the opportunity to support the NHS - and the knowledge they can then take to their practices in their home countries. They sell their homes, take out loans and leave their families behind to work in Britain. The change in rules is an absolute betrayal. Many will now return home with debt but no diploma, no qualifications."
The British Medical Association, the professional association for doctors, has blamed the government for altering the rules with scant regard of its repercussions on the trainee lot. An estimated 9000 doctors will stand to be deeply affected by this new ruling.
Dr Jo Hilborne, chairman of the BMA's Junior Doctors Committee said" There is definitely a need for a new system where the number of doctors coming to the country is based on the needs of the NHS, but what the government is doing is unfair on the doctors who are already here."