NHS ‘must value overseas medical staff’


STRONG MESSAGE: Dr Chaand Nagpaul
STRONG MESSAGE: Dr Chaand Nagpaul

A SENIOR Indian-origin doctor called on the UK government to value overseas medical profes­sionals from countries like India, saying without them the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) would not survive. Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medi­cal Council (BMA), addressed medics from around the UK at the council’s annual conference in Brighton last week. He warned that the NHS was being “run ragged” as it was “scandalously” starved of resources it desperately needs. “Without its overseas medical workforce the NHS would not have survived a single day,” he said, welcoming recent Home Office changes to its Tier 2 visa policies to remove doctors and nurses from a monthly cap. “The BMA campaigned tirelessly alongside others… which finally achieved the removal of the Tier 2 visa cap for doctors,” said Dr Nagpaul, hold­ing it up as proof that hostile political ideology and intransigence can be overcome with collec­tive pressure. The chair of the BMA, which functions as a union and professional body for medical profes­sionals, also called for a culture change within the NHS to ensure it is seen as one that “positively welcomes and values” skilled overseas doctors. “(They) come here to acquire specialist train­ing, and in doing so provide the NHS with a vital service when were desperately short of doctors,” he said, adding that the BMA would be hosting a summit this month to tackle the issue of equal op­portunity and removing racial bias in the NHS towards black and minority ethic (BME) doctors. His speech came as Britain marks the 70th an­niversary of the National Health Service, which has attracted announcements by the government of additional funding and resources for the NHS. However, Dr Nagpaul warned the additional funds fall way short of what the service requires. “The NHS has been systematically and scan­dalously starved for…

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