London: Britain wants to recruit junior doctors from India after their exodus from the country due to tightened immigration rules caused a shortage but the Home Office is not in agreement.
The National Health Service (NHS) is reported to have interviewed doctors from India and even sought the help of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) in its recruitment drive.
The BAPIO stipulated that the doctors should be allowed to stay and get training for between three and four years, rather than the two-year limit currently in place.
But the British Home Office said no, according to BBC News, pouring cold water on the NHS drive.
The Home Office is the lead government department for immigration and passports, drugs policy, crime, counter-terrorism and police.
The NHS is facing a shortage of doctors also due to new European regulations limiting the number of working hours for doctors.
The European Working Time Directive, which was fully introduced into the NHS in August last year, limits doctors` working time to no more than 48 hours per week.
As a result, some hospitals outside the metropolitan areas have even faced closure.
The Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy town closed its accident and emergency department overnight for a week due to a shortage of junior doctors.
At Erne hospital in Enniskillen town, its obstetric and gynaecology service had to be suspended for several weeks.
The shortages are acute in several hospitals in Wales, the West Midlands in England and Northern Ireland.
Derek Gallen, postgraduate dean of medical training for Wales, said: "We pulled the plug on overseas recruitment far too quickly… (didn’t) realise what the implications of that action would be two, three or four years down the line."