UK doctors to be treated as equals in court ruling

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The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) won a judgement on 09 November 2007 in favor of international doctors living in the UK. The ruling found that guidance handed out by the Department of Health (DH) to National Health Service (NHS) employers was unlawful and international medical graduates should be treated on par with medical graduates from the Britain and the European Union.

The appeal was heard by Lord Justice Sedley, Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Lord Justice Rimer and all three were unanimous in their ruling that the DH guidance was wrong.

The controversial guidance suggested that NHS employers should look first to British and European Union medical graduates to fill NHS training posts before hiring international medical graduates in Britain under the UK Work Permit scheme or the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP).

"We are delighted...this will reduce stress among tens of thousands of doctors who are providing excellent care every day within the NHS. This judgment means that these International Medical Graduates can continue to be treated on merit in any recruitment process," said Dr Raman Lakshman, Vice Chair for Policy for BAPIO.

Dr Buddhdev Pandya, Corporate Advisor to BAPIO, is happy with the ruling but hopes that the situation can be put behind all those involved.

"This was a landmark judgement and now is the time for us all to work with the Home Office and Department of Health in a constructive way to heal the wounds and build up again a diverse and highly trained workforce," he said.