Intended for healthcare professionals


House of Lords rules against government’s restriction on foreign doctors

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 08 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1037
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

Guidance from the UK government that restricts the right of thousands of foreign doctors to work in the NHS was ruled unlawful by the United Kingdom’s highest court, the House of Lords, last week.

The law lords’ ruling, by a 4:1 majority, is a victory for the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), which challenged the guidance, issued two years ago by the health secretary at the time, Patricia Hewitt. It should secure the future for thousands of doctors, mainly from the Indian subcontinent, who were encouraged to come to the UK under the highly skilled migrant programme to help staff the NHS.

The guidance to NHS employers was that doctors in the UK under the programme whose leave to remain was to expire before the end date of any training post on offer should be offered the post only if there were no suitable candidates from the European …

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