The BMA has called the government’s decision to deport a GP trainee because of a delay in his visa process “utterly incomprehensible”.
Dr Luke Ong, who is from Singapore but who studied and trained to be a GP in Britain, faces being told to leave the country if the Home Office wins an appeal against an earlier decision by an immigration judge to let him stay1.
Dr Ong was three weeks late applying to renew his visa because he says no appointments were available before his expired.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:
“This situation, in which a doctor who has committed the last ten years of his life studying, training and serving in the NHS faces deportation over what appears to be an honest oversight, beggars belief at a time when the government is prepared to spend millions recruiting GPs from abroad.
“The government knows there is a serious shortage of GPs in England, with too few medical students opting for the specialism, while experienced doctors reduce their hours or retire early – something which is having a negative effect on patient care. The Home Office must therefore move away from this hostile culture and any approach to immigration rules for doctors needs to be flexible and – ultimately – practical. For them to seemingly take such a strict stand in this case is utterly incomprehensible.”
Notes to editors
- The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
Read more about Dr Ong’s case here.
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