Decline in the number of Indian doctors coming to Britain

A large number of Indian doctors have been trained and worked in the UK for many years; however according to the latest report, their number have dropped sharply due to tighter immigration controls and better career choices in India.

A report says that India continued to provide the largest number of overseas doctors, but the number has reduced considerably from a peak of 3,640 in 2004 to the current levels of around 340 in 2013.

Although Indian doctors seeking postgraduate qualifications and experience of working in the NHS (National Health Service) prefer going to Britain than any other country, during 2011, the greatest number of doctors joining the medical team in the UK came from Pakistan (550), India (489), Romania (449), Italy (386) and Greece (365).

Many Indian doctors who practised in the UK for several years find the condition of work in the UK increasingly difficult. As a result, most of them either returned to India or moved to US, Canada or Australia in search of better workplace.

This is also due to the changes in immigration rules in the UK, but may also be because the Indian Government is concerned that the country has a shortfall of around 600,000 doctors. Even graduates who pursue higher studies in the US now have to return to work in India for at least two years.

Ramesh Mehta, president of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (Bapio) said, “There are lots of opportunities in the private health sector in India now. New visa rules that restrict stay of overseas doctors here to only two years has added to the drop.”

He also added, “Another major issue is the way Indian doctors are treated. News travels fast these days. There is institutional racism in the NHS. The system is not fair; there are many cases of Indian doctors facing discrimination. Together, these factors are putting off Indian doctors from coming here.”