July 18, 2008

UK paves way for Indian doctors, to ease restrictions

Indian doctors wishing to practice in the United Kingdom will soon find it easier to work there, and will be spared going through rigorous screening procedures. In what can be viewed as a positive response to the Indian Health Ministry’s decision to recognise foreign postgraduate degrees in medicine, the UK has now decided to proceed in the same direction. The decision also comes in the wake of a court case won by Indian doctors in Britain who protested a proposed legislation banning the recruitment of overseas doctors.

But now, according to sources in the Indian Health Ministry, the UK Department of Health has asked its counterpart in India to formulate a joint working group, which will work on the details of the new plan. “They seem to be positive and it’s a great achievement. We will soon start working on the modalities with the UK officials,” said a senior official in the Ministry.

Earlier this year, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss had announced that Indian doctors with postgraduate degrees in medicine from the UK, US, Canada, England and New Zealand would be allowed to practice in India. “It was necessary since many doctors working in these countries had shown their willingness to come to India and practice,” the Minister had said then. While, the other countries are still to get back to India on the issue, the UK’s move to work jointly with the Indian Government comes as good news for doctors here.

“The case has been won by the Indian doctors and if the UK Government also recognises the degrees of the Indian doctors, they will not have to go through PLAB (Professional and Linguistic assessments Board) Test, which is mandatory for the doctors to practice. While, India has already done its bit, it’s time for other countries to move ahead,” said Dr N P Singh, professor of medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC).

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