The Royal College of General Practitioners has written to the Home Secretary regarding the “profoundly unsettling decision to deport GP trainee Dr Luke Ong”. The RCGP is calling on the Rt. Hon Amber Rudd to immediately intervene in the case.
Dr Ong, originally from Singapore, has lived in the UK for 10 years, was refused a visa to stay in the country on the basis that his application was 18 days late.
“We have previously raised concerns with you about how current visa processes affect GPs from abroad who wish to work in the UK. This case highlights the negative impact that huge pressures on the visa application system are having on individual GPs, and ultimately the wider NHS and patient care,” the college states in the correspondence.
Acknowledging that well-defined rules on immigration are important, the RCGP says these rules must be applied appropriately. “Clearly, that has not happened in this case,” says RCGP council chair, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard.
“We do not believe that it is in the public interest to deport a doctor who this country has already invested heavily in, who has studied medicine here, and who has made the decision to become a GP in the UK, where his skills and expertise are desperately needed,” Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard says.
“At a time when the GP workforce is under tremendous strain, this decision sends completely the wrong message to GPs from abroad who may wish to study and practise medicine in the UK and stay in the NHS to deliver much needed GP services,” she points out.
The college has asked the Home Secretary to intervene in the case immediately and ensure that similar incidences do not happen again.