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Asian doctors facing difficulties in procuring work permits

Reports indicate difficulties are resulting in problems in their recruitment

Asian doctors being `discriminated’

Tags: Mahen Varma, foreign junior doctors, NHS trusts

4th September 2009: Soon after reports surfaced that as many as 200 doctors’ jobs are lying vacant at four NHS trusts due to the new points system for immigrants, reports indicate that difficulties in procuring work permits for doctors from the Asian subcontinent are resulting in problems in their recruitment.

Only last week gynecological services at a hospital had to be placed under suspension, as just one of six new junior doctors was able to commence work on time.

Following the incident, a top cardiologist at the Erne hospital in Enniskillen has asserted in no uncertain terms that immigration regulations bordering on racism have resulted in the problem of recruiting junior doctors.

According to the BBC, Professor Mahen Varma said the Home Office regulations were to be blamed for the shortage of junior doctors. Dr Varma said they appointed two doctors.

As both were working in the UK and had appropriate work permits, they did not anticipate a problem. All documentation was forwarded to the Home Office so they could begin work in August, but they we were informed that new work permits would not be issued for at least nine to 12 weeks.

As of now, foreign junior doctors from Eastern Europe can work without work permits, but the Asians need documentation. Professor Varma insists both should be treated equally, as it was a matter of discrimination which actually bordered on racism.

Elaborating, he said Asian doctors were trained through English medium, but were tested in their use of English upon arrival, whereas doctors trained in Poland, Latvia or Lithuania were trained in their own language but were not required to clear specific tests on their proficiency in English.

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