Visa caps for doctors will not be reintroduced says Matt Hancock following DAUK letter to the Home Office
Last night, DAUK Chair Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden was interviewed live on Sky News about the issue of Tier 2 visas and how it is affecting the NHS.
"What we are seeing as The Doctors' Association UK and frontline doctors are widespread shortages. We know that there are 10,000 vacancies across the NHS, yet 1500 visas have been denied to overseas doctors willing to fill those gaps.
What we've been hearing about at The Doctor's Association UK are cases of doctors currently working in the UK, who have been training the UK, in specialities such as General Practice which is short across the frontlines...and because of visa issues they are being asked to leave.
Which is terrible for the NHS when we are so short of doctors but there is a real human cost for these doctors who have invested so much in training, in service to the NHS, who have made their homes here and are now being asked to leave".
Dr Batt-Rawden also spoke out on the case of Dr Nnameka Chidumije, an NHS surgeon asked to leave the UK.
Watch the full interview below:
Doctors told to leave UK after Home Office refuses to issue them visas
The Doctors' Association UK's letter to the home secretary was published in The Independent yesterday.
In a letter to Sajid Javid dated 3rd June, The Doctors' Association UK express concern that Theresa May's caps on Tier 2 visas are now affecting general practice. The letter, timed for release with the RCGP, states doctors "are feeling the strain of working in departments, wards and general practices, which are severely understaffed" and note that "several specialties are under-filled".
DAUK to goes on highlight how General Practice is being affected by Tier 2 visa caps.
"In particular, we are concerned by hearing a number of cases affecting those wishing to train as GPs in the UK, those currently in GP training and even fully qualified GPs who have completed their training in the UK and now are being refused tier 2 visas".
DAUK goes on to cite a cases of doctor currently in GP training who has been forced to leave the country, and a further two cases of doctors unable to take up GP training posts that they had successfully applied for, one of whom is already working in the NHS.
The Doctors' Association UK are supporting many other doctors who have approached them with their own stories regarding visas. Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, Chair of DAUK said "These cases are just the tip of the iceberg. We have been approached by many others in the same situation, many of whom are devastated they cannot pursue their chosen career of General Practice. The government's promise of an extra 5000 GPs by 2020 seems unlikely to be delivered, yet we are turning potential GPs away from the UK".
DAUK has learnt that visa issues are also affecting fully qualified GPs, who are struggling to find a practice to sponsor them for a visa. Today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard called for NHS England to sponsor visa for GPs, to spare small practices the cost and bureaucracy of applications.
This morning, The Doctors' Association UK told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, that in respect to boosting the NHS workforce with overseas GPs "getting them here, means changing the rules".
A talented NHS surgeon has been forced to return to his home country of Nigeria. Dr Nnaemeka Chidumije has been working in the NHS since moving to the United Kingdom in 2013. On separating from his British wife and lapse of his spousal visa, Dr Chidumije was advised by the Home Office to return to Nigeria on the alleged promise of returning under a Tier 2 highly skilled migrant visa. His application, sponsored by Health Education England, has now been refused four times.
In a letter to Mr Ian Mearns MP, Dr Chidumije's colleagues and fellow surgeons attest to his talent and describe him as "a doctor with considerable natural ability". His fellow surgeons further express frustration that the current immigration policy has "failed to recognise the contribution of this exceptional individual to the NHS and his potential to greatly benefit this country in the future" and state that the hospital he was working in has now been left "short staffed".
The Doctors' Association UK are supporting Dr Chidumije through what has been a difficult and devastating experience. Dr Chidumije said "I am unable to return to the job I love and the place I now call home. My post in the NHS is one of many vacant positions in the NHS contributing to a staffing crisis"
The Doctors' Association UK is co-ordinating a national campaign on Dr Chidumje's behalf as part of our ongoing campaign Scrap the Cap. DAUK has written a letter to Theresa May on behalf of Dr Chidumije and have also started petition for his visa to be granted.
You can add your signature below or read our letter in full.