DAUK in The Guardian: Home Office overturns visa refusal for DAUK supported Ophthalmologist

Yesterday we revealed that an Ophthalmology Consultant is stranded overseas and unable to resume his career in the NHS after the Home Office banned him from entering Britain over a visa mix-up.

Following letters that we wrote to Home Secretary Priti Patel and Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock, and coverage by The Guardian the decision to refuse a visa has today been overturned.

The doctor involved (who wishes to remain anonymous) blamed his mistake on following “confusing and inaccurate” advice on the Home Office website aimed at overseas nationals working legally in Britain who switch jobs.

He hopes the Home Office’s change of heart will mean he can now take up a job he had been offered by the Royal Berkshire hospital trust in Reading, which would be his first consultant’s post.

He was told in an email: “The decision to refuse your visa application has been overturned and our office will now proceed to the next stage of your application.”

The ban had left the doctor stranded in his home country and unable to start the new position in Reading. The Home Office had insisted he could not return until after a year-long “cooling-off period” it had imposed for his minor breach of the visa application rules.

The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK), which took up his case, had branded the Home Office’s decision to block his return as “inhumane”, heavy-handed and short-sighted, given that the NHS in England is short of almost 10,000 doctors, including ophthalmologists.

Dr Rinesh Parmar, Vice-Chair of the Doctors’ Association UK, said:

“We are delighted to hear that the Home Office has reviewed their decision and granted Dr ******* a visa so that he can continue to work in the UK.

This is yet another case which demonstrates the nonsensical Home Office hostile environment strategy, which is at complete odds with attempts by the NHS to recruit international doctors. Since March 2018 the Doctors’ Association UK has had to intervene in numerous cases of NHS doctors facing deportation or prevented from working in the the NHS due to bureaucratic decisions made by the Home Office.

We call on the Home Office to review their processes and handling of these cases as the NHS can ill afford to lose a single doctor.”

This is an excerpt of an article by Denis Campbell for The Guardian