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The UK Is Calling, But Are You Interested?

M3 India Newsdesk Mar 11, 2017

The Healthcare sector in the UK is currently witnessing a shortage of medically trained staff, as over 23,000 vacancies for nurses and doctors were reported as of 2015. Amid this shortage, their National Health Service (NHS) is seemingly focusing on hiring Indian doctors to plug the gap.



In 2016, NHS signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with Apollo, to hire Indian doctors in line with its target to hire 400 General Physicians (GPs). Also, in 2017, the NHS launched a placement scheme to hire Indian doctors under a 3-year plan to plug shortages in the emergency departments. Post getting trained in the UK for handling emergency patients, doctors would return to India.


Impact of Brexit on Indian doctor’s British Dream


As per a report in published in 2016 in the Economic Times titled, Why Brexit is Good for India, before Brexit, the UK followed EU rules which included that the member countries should not invite immigrants from the non-EU countries unless there is a significant shortfall of  talent within the EU.


This meant the end of the “British dream” for most of the ‘knowledge workers’ from India, including Physicians and nurses, as they were denied UK job opportunities. But now Brexit would provide new opportunities for all such professionals looking for the work options in the UK as the visa status of nursing staff from EU outside the UK, working in NHS would change.


Is This Opportunity Lucrative Enough?


Changing visa regime and perception of an increasingly unwelcome medical system (with doctors and nurses from ethnic minorities facing discrimination) over the years has led to a considerable drop in several Indian doctors working in the UK, from 10,265 in 2009 to 6,880 in 2015, according to a data published by The Hindu’s BusinessLine.


According to Dr Amit Goyal, Cardiologist, most Indian doctors look forward to abroad to gain broader perspective but without compromising. “My nephew is a surgeon in London and he’s fully aware of the demands of his skill set which empowers him with more options”, he said.


The Opportunity To Grow?  


As per a statement made by Dr Umesh Prabhu’s, a former Chair of the British International Doctors Association to the Guardian.com, “Bringing in Indian GPs is ‘most dangerous thing’, owing to considerable gaps in training, language and wider knowledge of the NHS and British culture”.


In a 2016 interview with MailToday, Dr Kailash Chand, the deputy chair of the British Medical Association (BMA), cautioned dreamy-eyed aspirants to be aware of the pitfalls of deciding to work in the UK. As per a research by King's College London and the University of Southampton, NHS was found to be perpetuating "institutionalized racism" against BME doctors, an umbrella term for people belonging to black, minority and ethnic community, which also include Indian doctors, till the day they retire from service.


Also, according to BMA, even though 33% of NHS workforce is BME doctors, only 5% of them are in a superior medical position.


Return of Indian doctors


Several Indian doctors who practised in the UK are returning to the country, owing to the growing private investments in the Indian healthcare sector, and the opening of several state-of-the-art hospitals in the country. Dr Madhur Rao, who returned to practice in Pune after a stint in the UK in an interview told Hindustantimes that several of his colleagues have already come back, or were considering the same mainly due to better career prospects now available in India.


“Corporate hospitals in India now offer treatment for complex procedures for which people in the past travelled abroad, as hospitals are willing to invest in the latest technology from across the world,” Rao added.



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