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Ruling on non-EU doctors

15th February 2007

Doctors’ leaders are claiming victory over a government decision to restrict the employment of medics from outside the EU.

The High Court ruled the government had not followed the necessary race relations procedures and failed to consult the medical profession before introducing the restrictions last year.

The restrictions prevented medics from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) taking up training posts if there were eligible candidates from within the EEA.

The British Medical Association said overseas doctors affected by the decision had been given little chance to leave the country, having been led to believe they would be able to spend their working lives in the NHS.

The High Court said, while the government did not have a legal duty to consult, it failed to give the representative professional organisations the chance to make any comments. It also failed to comply with its duty to examine the race relations issues involved.

But it did rule with the government’s decision to restrict the employment rights of overseas doctors employed on the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme. It said the decision did not constitute unlawful discrimination.

The BMA has now called for new government guidelines to assist the current recruitment process of junior doctors.



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