Socialist Worker

Thousands of doctors not used by the NHS

Issue No. 1713

We all suffer from asylum laws

Thousands of doctors not used by the NHS

EVERYONE KNOWS the NHS is crying out for doctors. So why the hell is the government stopping 2,000 fully trained doctors in Britain from working? The doctors are refugees and are not allowed to work under Britain's anti-asylum laws.

Nothing could show more clearly how ridiculous these laws are. One example is Algerian doctor Mohammed Sekoum, a qualified GP, who has not been able to find work in Britain. At one point he volunteered to work as a vet's assistant.

Labour ministers say that improvements in the NHS will take time because training doctors is a long process. Yet here are thousands of qualified medical staff who are actively prevented from contributing to the NHS. Instead of welcoming the doctors and other refugees, the Tory health spokesperson tried to launch a new round of scapegoating by saying that overseas doctors' poor command of English is a problem.

Yet doctors have to pass incredibly stringent language tests before they are allowed to work in Britain. Tory attacks on refugees, and New Labour's capitulation to them, are not only hurting those fleeing persecution. They are hitting the sick in this country as well.

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Sat 9 Sep 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1713
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