A new campaigning organisation run by doctors is calling on the medical royal colleges and the General Medical Council to join efforts to abolish NHS fees for overseas doctors, according to the BMJ.
EveryDoctor is a non-profit campaigning group run by doctors, which has been set up with support from the Small Axe, an online organisation that encourages social movements on pressing issues.
A report this week in the BMJ says EveryDoctor has written to ask a range of professional organisations including medical royal colleges, the BMA and the General Medical Council, to join its campaign to end NHS fees for overseas doctors working in the UK.
EveryDoctor told the BMJ that the immigration health surcharge of £400 per person per year “means that if a doctor arrives in the country and is supporting a spouse and two children, they have to pay £1,600 a year to use the NHS despite the fact that they are already paying tax and national insurance”.
In a letter sent on 23 May, EveryDoctor said: “Despite the fact that the NHS actively recruits doctors from abroad because of understaffing problems in the NHS, these doctors are met with hefty financial charges for working within the NHS when they arrive in the UK,” it stated.
Julia Patterson, specialist trainee in psychiatry and founder of EveryDoctor, told the BMJ: “We should be valuing and supporting every single NHS doctor in their work. Instead, over 81,000 doctors on visas are currently being financially crippled by huge financial charges despite also paying tax and national insurance contributions.
“We need to call for an immediate scrapping of the immigration health surcharge for all doctors on visas and other healthcare workers. EveryDoctor welcomes collaboration and input from all medical institutions in our pursuit of this goal.”