GPs marching against borders and deportations

‘Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) is utterly appalled that up to 1,000 newly qualified GPs face deportation despite having completed their GP training in the UK.’

The group of health professionals issued its powerful warning yesterday, describing the NHS under the Tory government as ‘our crumbling health service’.

DAUK warned that Home Office rules state that foreign doctors must work under the skilled worker visa scheme for at least five years before they can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and this timeframe covers most specialist medical training.

But GPs usually gain their certificate of completion of training (CCT) after three years, leaving a two-year gap during which they must secure sponsorship if they want to stay in the country when their visas run out.

This gap leaves several GPs in limbo with the threat of deportation hanging over them.

Dr Dolin Bhagawati, DAUK spokesperson, said: ‘This simply defies belief and demonstrates the siloed thinking that is present in government when it comes to NHS staffing.

‘These doctors, who worked during the pandemic, are ideally placed to help address the problems faced by a dramatically understaffed GP service currently.

‘Yet the government’s immigration stance runs counter to alleviating this simple immigration issue.

‘A Parliamentary Bill to give Indefinite Leave to Remain to all NHS workers that worked during the pandemic, has been repeatedly kicked into the long grass.

‘Despite being a simple measure to implement, the government have chosen to embrace foolish bureaucratic madness, rather than take measures to address a crippling NHS shortage.

‘If the government are serious about addressing issues the NHS are facing today, we call on them to address these immigrations issues sensibly and expeditiously.’

Dr Ellen Welch, DAUK Co-Chair, added: ‘We are short of thousands of GPs in the UK and desperately need these doctors to stay and work in the NHS.

‘If the government is serious about bolstering the workforce then they need to take immediate action to ensure these doctors are not deported and are granted indefinite leave to remain to use their skills within our crumbling health service.’