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



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