U-turn Over Junior Doctor's Deportation Welcomed

Nicky Broyd

October 04, 2019

Doctors organisations have welcomed the Home Office backtracking on a threat to deport a trainee GP.

Dr Mu-Chun Chiang, 27, made a minor error on her UK visa application which resulted in the Home Office starting deportation proceedings. She was told she had to leave the country within days or she would be prosecuted.

Dr Chiang was born in Taiwan, first came to the UK with her family aged 5, and has lived here for more than half her life.

She returned to the UK in 2006 to study medicine and then got a job at Liverpool's Aintree University Hospital.

Her case was taken up by the British Medical Association (BMA), Royal College of GPs (RCGP), and the Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK).

The Home Office said that in the light of additional information supplied by Dr Chiang she has now been granted a Tier 2 visa to remain and work in the UK.

'Tip of the Iceberg'

Doctors' groups issued statements welcoming the decision.

BMA Council Chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: "It beggars belief that at a time when the NHS is facing the worst staffing crisis in its history the Government would try to force a qualified doctor to leave the country because of a minor administrative error and the BMA today once again wrote to the Home Office to highlight the inflexibilities of the current system.

"The Government needs to actively encourage and enable medics to remain in our hospitals and GP practices, instead of preventing doctors from providing vital care for patients."

RCGP Chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: "It's ludicrous that at a time when the NHS workforce is in crisis and the skills and expertise of GPs are so desperately needed, the Home Office is still willing to deport a doctor that this country has already invested in, who has lived here for most of her life and studied medicine here.

"We should be welcoming Dr Chiang to the NHS with open arms, not deporting her.

"Unfortunately, her case is not the first, and we suspect it is just the tip of the iceberg and that there could be many more cases where red tape or minor administrative errors are preventing our trainees and fully qualified GPs from working in the NHS when our patients and our profession are crying out for them.

"We have written to the Home Secretary about this case, and the wider impact of visa rules on the GP workforce, urging her in the strongest possible terms to intervene and to ensure similar experiences are not repeated."

DAUK Vice-Chair Dr Rinesh Parmar said: "At a time when the NHS is short of approximately 10,000 doctors, the threatened deportation of Dr Chiang is extremely worrying.

"Our patients are facing longer waiting times and missed targets whilst our doctors report stress and rota gaps.

"The handling of Dr Chiang’s case shows flagrant disregard for the contribution that Dr Chiang has made to our society and is completely at odds with NHS England’s efforts to recruit international GPs.

"Whilst we welcome the news that the Home Office has reversed their decision, this government needs to rapidly re-think its policies if the NHS is to retain its vital international medical workforce."


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