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Britain hunts for Indian doctors

New Delhi, Nov. 2 (PTI): The British department of health is looking for qualified and trained doctors from India in the field of medicine, radiology, anaesthesia and psychiatry to work as full-time consultants in the UK.

According to British Medical Association figures, 3,200 full-time general practitioners from the sub-continent working in the National Health Service (NHS) are due to retire in 2007.

The British health department is looking for doctors who have completed their masters followed by further specialist training in any senior post, including senior registrar, senior resident, lecturer, associate professor, assistant professor and graded specialist (armed forces).

British high commission officials said suitable candidates would be invited to a NHS Consultants Career seminar, which will be held in February and July next year.

There are about 30,000 full-time general practitioners in the NHS and 5,000 of them are from the subcontinent.

The British health department has a recruitment agreement with New Delhi, which allows Britain to offer doctors from India the opportunity to work in England.

The international recruitment drive has also been launched in North America, Europe, Australia and West Asia.

Doctors here say that even if English doctors want to fill up the vast gap, they will find it difficult to provide healthcare services in the remote corners of the country, which are usually handled by doctors from the sub-continent.

Indians, however, would be more than willing to work there, given the dismal employment situation in the country.

Every year, more than 20,000 doctors complete their MBBS. Several medical graduates are either under-employed or unemployed. This would be a welcome break for them, said Dr Anil Bansal, president of the Delhi Medical Association.

In India, most doctors are not paid well and are not satisfied with their jobs. Even if there is an opening in Mauritius, they would rush, Bansal added.

However, he raised questions on the fate of the Indian doctors in Britain after retirement — whether there are any vacancies for them in medical colleges there or would they be coming back to India and if they will be covered by state insurance as in the US.

“Though we are not in a position to offer them anything on a platter, they could instead be of great help if they set up state-of-the-art clinics and nursing homes here, which would not only provide employment but also good treatment,” Bansal said.

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