‘1,000’ foreign general practitioners are threatened with expulsion by the Ministry of the Interior

‘1,000’ overseas GPs face deportation from Home Office: Blow to NHS after UK taxpayers spend £50,000 a year training them

  • The NHS in England has lost the equivalent of around 2,000 full-time GPs since 2015
  • Now new recruits have received letters informing them of their ‘expulsion’ from the UK
  • It comes just weeks after completing their training to become qualified GPs
  • Health Education England fears 1,000 temporary visas will expire by March 2023

A ‘thousand’ of overseas GPs are facing deportation by the Home Office in another blow to the NHS after British taxpayers paid more than £50,000 a year to train them.

The NHS in England has already lost the equivalent of around 2,000 full-time GPs since 2015, making it harder for patients to get appointments.

Now new recruits have received letters informing them of their ‘expulsion’ from the UK just weeks after completing training for their roles.

Home Office rules say foreign doctors must work under the skilled worker visa program for at least five years before they can apply for indefinite leave to stay – a timeframe that covers most specialist medical training .

But GPs usually get their certificate of completion after three years, leaving a two-year gap in which they have to get sponsorship if they want to stay in the country when their visas run out.

NHS England expected to be allowed to sponsor doctors over the two-year period but could not reach an agreement with the Home Office.

Health Education England fears that 1,000 temporary visas will expire by March 2023.

Health Education England fears 1,000 temporary visas will expire by March next year

Dr Pushpo Hossain told the Mirror: ‘These are qualified GPs who pay taxes and have been trained with taxpayers’ money and are so vital to the NHS. General practitioners are blamed for the overflow of A&E departments.

“The UK needs these overseas GPs – and more – to tackle the current crisis.”

Dr Margaret Ikpoh, of the Royal College of GPs, also told the House of Commons Health and Social Services Committee this week that some doctors are ‘literally going from celebrating the fact that they have become a GP to receiving letters threatening them with deportation”.

The RCGP is calling for international medical graduates who qualify as GPs in the UK to be granted indefinite automatic leave to stay in order to stem the crisis.

Sir Robert Francis QC, chairman of Healthwatch England, told MPs that more than half of complaints received by the watchdog about GPs were about access.

He added: “Patients…certainly struggle to get a face-to-face appointment with a GP.”

Taxpayers are spending £50,000 a year to train each family doctor amid a major shortage - only to lose them to other countries, health officials claim (stock photo)

Taxpayers are spending £50,000 a year to train each family doctor amid a major shortage – only to lose them to other countries, health officials claim (stock photo)

He also warned that patients were turning up at overcrowded A&Es after finding it impossible to get to their doctor’s surgeries or the NHS 111 service.

Sir Robert said they were ‘kept on the phone forever’, saying: ‘It’s definitely one of the reasons people go to A&E, which as we know is not the right place for almost all of these people.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Foreign workers make an invaluable contribution to our NHS, helping to keep vital services running and saving lives.

“Trainee doctors can use the time between the end of training and the end of their visa to seek and apply for employment.”

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