Immigration rules for doctors branded ‘ludicrous and shameful’ in the Lords

Immigration rules preventing overseas doctors being recruited by the NHS have been branded “ludicrous and shameful” in the Lords.

Former Lord Speaker Baroness Hayman warned patient care was being “compromised” by a shortage of doctors while recruits were being refused visas to enter the UK.

For the Government, the Earl of Courtown said ministers were looking urgently at the issue and promised progress would be made “in the very near future”.

Lady Hayman, a member of the General Medical Council, raised the issue of tier two visas for overseas doctors recruited by the NHS at question time in the Lords.

Lord Courtown said the Government was committed to keeping the operation of the immigration system under review to ensure it operated in the national interest.

He added: “As the Home Secretary has indicated we are looking urgently at this issue.”

Lady Hayman, an independent crossbench peer, said she had not seen a great deal of urgency in action.

She said: “It is ludicrous and shameful that patient care in this country is being compromised every day by the shortage of doctors and yet every day doctors from overseas recruited to positions in the NHS are being turned away and refused visas by the Home Office.

“Yesterday we learned that 2,360 such doctors have been refused visas, in the last six months.”

“Isn’t it time the Government took urgent action and ended this damaging and dogmatic policy,” Lady Hayman demanded to loud cheers.

Lord Courtown said: “You’re quite right. This issue does need to be looked at seriously.

“This is why the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister have been discussing this issue. Progress will be made in the very near future.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Rick Findler / PA Wire.