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Hospital Healthcare Europe

Restrictions on doctors unlawful

1 May, 2008  

Restrictions on the right of thousands of foreign doctors to work in the UK have been ruled unlawful.

Guidance issued by the government two years ago advised NHS employing bodies that foreign, non-EU postgraduate doctors and dentists seeking training posts should only be employed if there were no suitable UK or EU candidates.

But the House of Lords has ruled then Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt acted unfairly in “dashing the legitimate expectations” of practitioners who had been encouraged to come to this country to help staff the NHS.

The Law Lords’ decision should secure the future for thousands of international medical graduates (IMGs) who came to the UK under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP).

The guidance had been suspended pending the outcome of legal proceedings launched by the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO).

The Lords dismissed a challenge by current Health Secretary Alan Johnson to a Court of Appeal ruling in favour of BAPIO.

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British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin