GMC says government must address visa issue
The General Medical Council (GMC) has urged the government to address delays in issuing visas which are affecting hundreds of skilled doctors who want to work in the UK.
The cap on granting visas for non-EU doctors is resulting in rota gaps and lengthening waiting times for patients. The Home Office gives priority to applicants whose skills are on published shortage lists.
"It is frustrating that while one government department is working hard to recruit doctors into an overstretched health service, another is enforcing eligibility conditions which stifle those efforts."
GMC Chief Executive
Charlie Massey, Chief Executive of the GMC, said: ‘It is frustrating that while one government department is working hard to recruit doctors into an overstretched health service, another is enforcing eligibility conditions which stifle those efforts.
‘We are seeing huge increases in the number of international doctors applying to take our examinations that they need in order to work in the UK, so much so that we have made extra exam dates available.
‘However, once they pass the exam, and so have shown they have the skills necessary to work here, too many of those much-needed doctors are being prevented from coming as they can’t get visas. The government needs to address this issue as a matter of urgency.’
The GMC has been aware of the visa issues for some time and continues to call for the matter to be resolved quickly.
NHS Employers backed the GMC’s request to the government.
Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers, said: ‘NHS organisations have been unable to obtain the required permits for months for essential medical colleagues, and we have called on the government to urgently address this serious problem.
‘We are aware of at least 400 doctors who haven’t been able to enter the country to take up posts. This prolonged inability to recruit non-EEA talent hits us particularly hard – and therefore hits patients hard too. We are also aware that our overall demand for visas within the present Tier 2 system is adversely impacting on other parts of the economy.
‘We have proposed removing shortage occupation list roles from the cap but await a response from the government.’