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From abroad

Through the K hole follows a man arriving nervously at the airport clutching his passport - where could he be headed?

The aircraft caught the sunlight as it taxied off the main runway. A smooth, white-skinned bullet-case whose sucking engines came to a sudden standstill.

As soon as the warning lights had pinged off there came the hurried chatter of un-clicking seat belts. He looked through the small window, out over the unfamiliar airport and toward the thin line of terminal buildings. Like the solitary light blinking on the control tower, he felt lost, companionless.

He decided to wait in his seat, clutching his bag until most of the passengers had flown through the exit doors ahead of him. It was his first time in the country and he only had a basic understanding of the language.

He had spent most of the six hour flight studying its grammar from a well-thumbed school book that his friend had lent him. He'd even scribbled some useful phrases onto the back of his hand in case he got really stuck.

He was warned about the austere airport officials who would check over and scrutinise his documents. He'd mentally prepared himself for an interrogation and even had a small greasy curl of local currency in his back pocket in case they accepted bribes.

As he walked, self-consciously, across the soft carpeting of arrrivals he held on tightly to his passport. He knew that it was the only thing that could lubricate his way through customs.

A group of foreign officials and police sat and sweated behind glass, they wore unusually peaked caps and with their down turned mouths and polystyrene coffee cups they looked indifferently hostile. As he approached he gulped thick air but thankfully his passport was stamped and he was waved through. He followed a bright yellow sign which seemed to indicate the exit.

Once outside he flagged down a cab and gave the driver a slip of paper with the name of the UK centre on it. Tired and alone, unsupported, he was due to begin his out of hours shift as a locum in a little under two hours.

In response to: Time to face up to the locums scandal

Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen

Through the K hole