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I am writing to expose the difficulties of young overseas doctors who have come to the UK for higher training and employment. Many of these young medical graduates, after completing basic medical education in their own countries, strive hard to pass all stages of the PLAB test and become eligible for limited registration.

Once they have passed the PLAB they are hopeful of getting a job and the opportunity of training in the specialty of their choice. But the reality is different. At any given time these are 2,000-3,000 such doctors in the process, and 90 per cent of them are waiting for between six and 12 months to get a breakthrough.

Many of these are totally frustrated and demoralised and cannot support themselves financially, having spent large amounts of money to come to the UK and pay for their PLAB tests. Many are working as taxi drivers or petrol court attendants and live in poor accommodation. Some of them are visiting temples and other religious places to get free meals! It is indeed a dehumanising experience.

Nowadays there is no system of clinical attachments for these doctors like previous years. Someone has to take some moral responsibility to help these doctors, who are admitted to the PLAB test without being given correct information on prospects of employment and training.

The GMC, probably, feels its responsibility is over once a doctor passes his or her PLAB test. Who is then responsible?

If jobs cannot be found within the NHS, the Government and GMC should declare a moratorium and the GMC should stop conducting PLAB tests until these doctors are fully employed.

We need urgent measures to help these doctors and the Department of Health, GMC and other bodies should come up with a positive scheme. Please help these doctors by drawing the attention of the Health Secretary to their plight.

Dr S Venugopal



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