latest health care news

18.04.18

Home Office drops case against trainee GP threatened with deportation

Dr Luke Ong, the trainee GP that had been threatened with deportation by the government in a move the BMA had labelled “utterly incomprehensible,” will be allowed to stay in the UK.

The Singapore-born 31-year-old, who is just months away from completing his GP training, learned at the weekend that officials at the Home Office were withdrawing their legal bid to deport him. He had just invested almost £100,000 towards seven years’ worth of medical training, which was part-funded by the government.

A Home Office spokeswoman told press: “Dr Ong’s case has been reviewed following further representations. The Home Office has applied to withdraw from the ongoing appeal proceedings and will reconsider his application for Indefinite Leave to Remain.”

Ong had applied for indefinite leave to remain in September 2017, but his application was refused by the Home Office for being 18 days late.

When news of this circulated, over 300,000 people signed a petition urging the department to allow Ong to stay in the UK.

Speaking to the BMA, the trainee GP said it was “cautiously optimistic” about the announcement but would not celebrate until he knew for sure that he would be able to return to work.

Responding to the news, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “We are pleased that the government has seen sense and backed away from trying to deport someone who has spent the last decade dedicating himself to a career in the NHS.

“The strong reaction to Dr Ong’s case from both healthcare professionals and members of the public highlighted the absurdity of a system that would seek to remove a valued doctor from the country over an administrative error.”

Nagpaul added that there is a “serious shortage of GPs in England,” meaning any immigration system must be flexible and practical in its approach to hiring doctors born overseas if the government intends to “solve the NHS workforce crisis.”

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