Many overseas doctors continue to struggle with immigration issues – even as the NHS needs all its resources to tackle the pandemic third wave, campaigners have warned.
The Doctors’ Association said that some doctors are still waiting for biometric residency permits, which would allow them to start work.
In Leicester respiratory specialist Dr Ahmad Ussaid is sitting idle because of these delays, it said. Even an intervention by a local MP has failed to speed up the issuing of the permit.
Other doctors remain out of pocket because a promised refund of the health entry tax – the immigration health surcharge – has not arrived, the association said.
Neurosurgeon Dr Dolin Bhagawati said:
These prolonged and ongoing bureaucratic delays are simply unconscionable. We have trained doctors in this country who are ready and willing to help combat the pandemic but unable to work due to the Home Office not doing its job and supplying appropriate documentation.
Promises made by the Prime Minister and the cabinet regarding refunding the IHS to NHS staff continue to remain unfulfilled. How can the NHS attract the best and brightest to the UK if the world sees a government unable to fulfil straightforward promises?
Unfortunately, the immigration rhetoric and policies of the recent past has led to many of our valued colleagues feeling crestfallen, unappreciated, and exploited. This country must reward those that come to its aid in its time of greatest need.
We call on the government to do its job to allow the NHS to do its part in leading the country through this national emergency.