GP forced to leave recruitment hotspot due to visa red tape
A newly-qualified GP, who worked in one of the worst hit areas for GP recruitment in England, has been forced to return to Nigeria despite having a job offer due to an issue with how the role was advertised.
Dr Maryam Tukur had to leave Lincolnshire, which has had to look to the EU and offer £20,000 ‘golden handshakes’ to recruit doctors, because her role was not advertised properly.
She has also been prevented from obtaining her MRCGP as she is no longer in the country.
Local education leaders said the situation was a ‘human and professional tragedy’.
Dr Tukur completed her GP training in Lincolnshire and had found a job at a local private company providing locum GPs, after a part-time salaried GP role in a practice federation fell through.
But the Home Office denied her a visa, stating that jobs needed to be advertised for four weeks with no suitable UK or EU applicants before being offered to a non-EU national.
However, Lincolnshire has been badly hit by the recruitment crisis and is having to set up schemes to attract EU GPs and offer financial incentives to attract GPs.
Dr John Coffey, a GP in Lincolnshire and training programme director of the Lincolnshire GP training, said the region was ‘desperate’ for GPs and Home Office rules are making it more difficult.
He said: ‘A locally trained and qualified GP is having to leave the country because of the complexities and impossible time limits of the visa process.
‘What is the point of training non-EU doctors on GP training schemes, at significant expenses, if the visa system then makes it difficult, if not impossible, to work in area which is desperate for GPs?’
He warned that the visa application process for practices is preventing them from finding much-needed doctors.
Dr Coffey said: 'I know of only one practice locally who successfully applied. They employed my last registrar and found the whole process difficult and frustrating.
‘The registrar involved was delayed starting work for four weeks and was very anxious that application might fall through or be refused,' he added.
A Home Office spokesperson said: 'All visa applications are carefully considered on their individual merits, in line with the UK immigration rules and based on evidence provided by the applicant.'