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AS UK BRACES TO TIGHTNEN EMPLOYMENT LAWS, A PENDING ATMOSPHERE OF DOOM HANGS OVER FOREIGN DOCTORS IN THE UK
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Feb 26, 2016, 17:06
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In page 5 of our Tuesday 16th February edition (Vol X No 008), this newspaper carried an article titled: 'ON WHY WE ARE LOOSING OUR FINE YOUNG DOCTORS TO OTHER COUTRIES, HEALTH MINISTERCLEARS THE AIR''


In that article, the Health and Sanitation Minister vehemently refuted the age old belief that the search for 'greener pastures' is the primary force driving our young and talented doctors out of the country. The Minister maintained the position that the so called 'greener pastures' (America and the West in particular) are no longer as green as people are portraying them to be. In fact he even went further to say ''as a matter of fact some are no longer even green anymore''. He cited among other reasons the global economic meltdown that did not spear even the so called 'green lands' and the restrictions in visa and work permits for foreign nationals which makes it harder for foreign medical graduates to enter and settle in these countries.

Health Minister Dr Abu Bakarr Fofanah:-The so called 'greener pastures' are no longer green

 

Barely a week after the very educative article, further research on the issue has made even more startling revelations. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) of the United Kingdom (UK) Department for Home Affairs (the equivalent of our Ministry of Internal Affairs- that is responsible for immigration) has made recommendations to the UK government which if drafted into law, would mean that international/foreign medical graduates from UK medical schools would now be subjected to the Resident Labour Market Test when applying for a medical specialty job. The recommendations if enacted would mean doctors with UK medical degrees who are not UK or European Union (EU) citizens would only be eligible to take part in a second round of applications for specialist training posts, (but not a first round) when most positions would have already been filled by UK and EU citizens. Put it in plain English-medical graduates of UK universities who are not UK or EU nationals (REST OF MANKIND) will be last in the line to get specialist training jobs in the UK.

 

If foreign national who have already resided in the UK for years, and have spent tens of thousands of Pound Sterling to get UK education, and have actually been awarded UK medical degrees from renowned UK universities including Oxford and Cambridge could be  placed last in the job queue because they are foreigners, I wonder which positions in the job queue other foreign nationals (REST OF MANKIND) who got their primary medical qualifications in their home countries (like Sierra Leone) would occupy if they were to venture to the UK today in search of medical jobs- commented an elderly woman.


The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the well respected and renowned medical union, the British Medical Association (BMA) Dr Mark Porter has warned that the changes recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), if enacted into law, could have a "devastating impact" on the 500 foreign medics who graduate from UK medical schools each year. Foreign Doctors in the UK have told the BMA the proposed changes would make it much harder for them to pursue their chosen career path in the UK National Health Service (NHS) and that many would leave the UK to pursue their career ambitions elsewhere.

 

The proposed changes in the law in the UK and the BMA position above have further bolster the Health Minister's argument that the grass is no longer green over there (not even for doctors-not to talk about other professions) and that people must stop using the 'greener pasture' debate to shy away on what we need to do as a country to empower our young doctors to realise their full potentials locally. With this new development, the Health and Sanitation Minister said that he hopes the greener pasture argument would be laid to rest and that all would put hands on deck to make specialist/ postgraduate medical training, which is the major reason for the exodus of doctor out of the country, a reality in this country and a legacy that our generation would leave for our children and generations to come.


We should use the fact that the grass is no longer green over there to our advantage. It means it is now a lot easier for us to get our doctors to stay in country. We just need to do a little bit for them like ensuring that when they finish their house jobs there are provisions available locally for them to continue their professional careers, as well as building specialist residential quarters in the provinces.


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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