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Government must address NHS workers' immigration issues as GPs reveal being slapped with deportation letters

THE government must address the immigration issues of NHS workers, campaigners said today after GPs revealed that they were receiving deportation letters soon after completing their medical training.

Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) vice-chairwoman Dr Margaret Ikpoh told the parliamentary health and social care committee’s evidence session on the future of general practice that new doctors are “literally going from celebrating the fact that they’ve become a GP to receiving letters threatening them with deportation.”

It was also revealed in April that up to 1,000 overseas GPs could be at risk of being deported despite completing their training in Britain because of complex immigration rules that mean they are unable to extend their visas.

Dr Ikpoh said: “That can’t be right. It has to change and we have to value them better.

“Because if we don’t, we’ll lose them, and some are already going to places where they feel that they are more valued.

“I think it’s an easy win for all of us to try and sort out.”

Doctors’ Association UK co-chairwoman Dr Ellen Welch said: “We are short of thousands of GPs and desperately need these doctors to stay and work in the NHS.

“If the government is serious about bolstering the workforce then they need to take immediate action to ensure these doctors are not deported and are granted indefinite leave to remain to use their skills within our crumbling health service.”

It comes as the British Medical Association raised concerns at the “alarming levels of unfair treatment” of ethnic minority medics working in the NHS.

The union said that many doctors are facing racial inequality at work which is leading to them being overlooked for promotion or being forced to change their chosen speciality.

It warned of a “tragic waste of potential” as a new poll revealed that 60 per cent of Asian and 57 per cent of black medics see racism as a barrier to career progression.

As a result of racial discrimination, 42 per cent of black and 41 per cent of Asian doctors have considered leaving or have left work in the past two years.

BMA chairman of council Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “Racism is wrecking the lives of many doctors, affecting patient care and threatening services.”

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