By: Radhakrishna NS
A DOCTOR from India is among hundreds of overseas medics considering quitting the NHS in protest at the high cost of visas and other charges.
More than 500 medics from outside the EU are reportedly thinking of taking their skills abroad.
“Despite the NHS needing additional doctors these policies send the message that doctors on visas are second-class employees, unwanted and completely disposable,” a doctor was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
According to immigration rules, overseas doctors must pay thousands of pounds a year for a working visa, and a £400 a year for them and each member of their family to use the NHS.
EveryDoctor, a campaigning organisation run by medics, said these charges have created a financially crippling situation for doctors.
“The NHS actively recruits doctors from other countries, and yet when these highly trained individuals arrive in the UK they are treated incredibly poorly,” Dr Julia Patterson from EveryDoctor was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
“These high visa fees coupled with the NHS surcharge combine to create a financially crippling situation for thousands of doctors. Many doctors we have spoken to are considering leaving the UK as a result. We can ill afford to lose their valuable skills and experience.”
Calling for the Home Office to review the charges, Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, said: “We are operating in a highly competitive international market. So anything – including extra taxes and surcharges – that makes it harder to persuade overseas staff to come and work for the NHS, and to stay here in the UK, is unhelpful.”