The charity is asking for medics to be speedily or temporarily registered as practising doctors, claiming that out of the refugees who access their support, they know of at least 514 medics who are living in the UK after being forced to leave their home countries due to war and violence. However, they are not permitted to work as they are unable to practice their licence in the UK.
They are fully qualified medics in their home countries, but registration is challenging in the UK, which often warrants migrants to undertake British exams and training. Final exams that would have allowed some of these migrant doctors to work in Britain have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
RefuAid has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock to ask that he issue temporary licences for refugee medics.
It is baffling that refugees and asylum seekers who are qualified medics in their home country are being turned away during this time of crisis
The organisation is backed by MPs including the Liberal Democrats’ acting leader and MP for Kingston and Surbiton, Ed Davey. Davey has said on Twitter that the Health Secretary will look at the proposal.
The government has asked citizens to volunteer and help the NHS in its time of need. Volunteering jobs will include delivering medicine to vulnerable people who must self-isolate, driving patients to appointments, bringing them home from the hospital and making regular phone calls to check in with those self-isolating.
It must be said, however, that one of the reasons the NHS is set for such a challenge is because of the utterly brutal cuts the Conservatives have made to it during their reign. Despite that reality, a heart-warming 500,000 and more of the public have signed up to be an NHS volunteer, proving how dear the NHS is to the nation.
A government representative stated that the government is “considering a wide range of further measures, at pace, as part of our response [to the pandemic].”
Refugee doctors must be allowed to play their part, should they be able to and willing
Chris Hopson, Chief Executive of NHS Providers, said London hospitals are struggling with the demand and seeing high sickness rates in staff.
The government is desperately in need of resources in the fight against coronavirus as seen by its NHS volunteer drive. It is baffling that refugees and asylum seekers who are qualified medics in their home country are being turned away during this time of crisis.
It is not the time to distinguish between borders or nationalities. The Government has, for so long, perpetuated and allowed society to be divided into ‘us’ and ‘them’. We cannot afford this narrative any longer; arguably we couldn’t afford it in the first place.
Refugee doctors must be allowed to play their part, should they be able to and willing. Not only would it fill the fearsome staff shortages in the NHS, but it would, hopefully, show those hostile towards migrants just how arbitrary and pointless these divisions are.