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Gold, incentives and meh

I'm a German GP and I'm having to review my circumstances

Dr Roy Melamed 

I’m German and not officially entitled to an opinion about Brexit. It seems to have come to this, thanks to populism, propaganda and lies (…now where have I heard that one before?)

I’ve lived here and worked for the NHS for the last 30 years; I’m bringing up my family here; have a house; pay my income tax, national insurance, council tax and car tax, and have never claimed a single benefit.

And I came here out of choice, not because I had to or because the job is better-paid here (it’s not), or because I didn’t have a job back home (I did).

I dared to consider myself as equal. Actually, I never thought of that fact before June 2016, but in hindsight, I considered myself as equal without ever having to think about it.

Can the country really afford to get rid of doctors? 

This, along with suddenly having to apply to be allowed to stay, almost like having to beg, leaves a bitter taste. It’s humiliating. 

The fact that applying for ‘settled status’ received the answer that the Home Office has no record for me for the last seven years and therefore I can’t even have pre-settled status without submitting more information made me, like so many others in my position, think whether I really needed this. 

So now I’m considering my options.

Doctors are needed, and not only in the NHS. Conditions aren’t going anywhere and the recruitment crisis is swinging from record to record. Can the country really afford to get rid of us? 

What if we ‘Europeans’ decide to actually go where we’re needed, wanted and treated as equals? What if the NHS loses 30% of its workforce? What next?

My English colleague emotionally opposed the treatment I received by the Home Office to his MP, who reached out to mine. Both MPs subsequently got in touch with the Home Office, then Pulse also made an enquiry on my behalf too and it was eventually resolved.

Amid the turmoil, this made me feel valued and incredibly grateful, but others aren’t as lucky to have such brilliant colleagues.

Within all of the populism, nationalism, elitism, and lies being fed, people need to stop for a moment, breathe and start to think. 

Dr Roy Melamed is a GP in Essex

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Readers' comments (27)

  • "Shefdoc why aren't you proud to be British?"

    I thought that was clear from my post. My reasons for not feeling proud: The increasingly hostile environment for immigrants. The rise of far right and nationalistic rhetoric. The unprecedented national self-harm that is Brexit. Our current Prime Minister who behaves like a dictator. The shrinking state. Austerity. Worsening inequality.

    That sort of thing. There is still much to be proud of, but for me, the UK is at a particular low point right now.

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  • Roy,
    It perplexes me why after working in the UK for 25 years you didn't apply for British citizenship. I have two friends with similar stories who similarly to you feel very bitter about the bureaucracy. I'm afraid as you are an EU citizen you simply have to swallow this process and accept it. It is entirely necessary as we are leaving the EU.

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  • John,
    Nothing perplexing here. We simply didn't need it up to now.
    Re swallowing the fact of having to apply for settled status I think equally pragmatically though and want to tell Roy to just get on with it and don't dwell/whinge. That is if he wants to stay.
    However, after nearly 25 years here I have also come round to considering the unthinkable and preparing my return to Germany for the simple reason that the pendulum of time, supply and demand - albeit slow - has now swung to the position I want it to be at. In comparison to 1995 when I left Germany it now provides me with a better income, a more sensitive attitude towards its "people on the ground", less hassle with personality disordered or plain nasty patients and an infantilising and dishonest system eager to find scapegoats for its many shortcomings.
    The final straw is perhaps that I do not wish to be subjected to rising populism in a country that maybe still has to go through their own national humiliation before wisening up, silly anti-German sentiments and problems people - patients, staff, voters - have with doctors within a class system which was never mine to start out from.

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  • Agree with LateralThink wholeheartedly.
    Shefdoc is wrong to call Brexit racist - on the contrary EU membership is inherently racist as it discriminates in favour of mainly white Europeans. After leaving we can have an immigration policy fair to all.

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  • You will need it!

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  • Hi Roy
    The treatment you received is typical bureaucratic unemotional, dehumanising behaviour that seems to happen in any country if you are on the wrong side of the fence. I don’t think it is reserved just for the U.K. and Brexit. I agree with lateralthink.

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  • I'm really sorry for it all. Personally I felt similarly and have fled to Canada, I'm a Brit. The whole thing is going to cost at least 10 years of prosperity IMO. Get out.

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  • Whoever thinks just getting a British passport solves the issue hasn`t grasped the problem, it is more complex than that. The combination of working conditions, populism, Brexit - all makes for a perfect storm. I worked in the NHS for 20 years and left recently for all those reasons. Feeling much better for it and so does the family!

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  • If only Europe would throw out all the emigrant british GPs, the NHS might find itself awash with spare doctors???
    Or am I as deluded as Julia/Yulia?

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  • Fintan O 'Toole - Heroic Failure. Book is fantastic. Youtube him either.

    He discusses Brexit and how the British have imagined themselves to be oppressed by Europe.

    Really interesting psychology to Brexit and how a lot of it relates to post World War II.

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