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Docs in droves at Saudi door

Calcutta, July 6: The next time you want to visit a doctor, you may have to go all the way to Saudi Arabia if the queue of job-seeking medical professionals at a central Calcutta hotel is any indication.

Some 200 healthcare professionals have turned up for interviews over two days for employment in the Saudi kingdom. The Saudi team camping here is the first from a foreign country to recruit doctors from the city.

“The kind of potential and knowledge among the doctors interviewed so far has been impressive,” said M.A. Al-Fraih, team leader and medical recruitment attach' in the Saudi embassy.

Of the 200 people who came for interviews, 70-80 per cent are doctors and the rest are nurses and paramedics.

“We are expecting quite a lot tomorrow, but we are not sure whether we can accommodate all of them because we have a packed schedule,” said M. Asif Habib, director of recruitment agency Habsons Jobsup Ltd, who has come with the Saudi health ministry team.

A doctor waiting to be interviewed said: “I not only get a huge salary, but can pursue my education further and work in excellent conditions, which we sadly lack here.”

He has done a diploma course in cardiology after passing his MBBS examination with flying colours and is straining to leave town.

Another said: “The hours you have to put in at a government hospital is mind-boggling, and don’t forget the lack of appreciation.”

It’s not the salary alone, they suggest.

“We recruit doctors from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai regularly,” said Habib, adding that they tapped Calcutta on the state government’s request.

“From general physicians to MS (master of surgery), MBBS pass-outs and cardiologists, the blend of senior and junior doctors has been very good. Almost 70-80 per cent of the candidates interviewed so far are likely to be empanelled with top-notch hospitals in Riyadh and elsewhere,” he said.

Prabhakar Chatterjee, the director of health services, said: “Though Calcutta may lose some good doctors, doctors from Calcutta will also get exposure in quality hospitals and learn a lot.”

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