APPNE leading the way in supporting NHS professionals

London: The Association of Pakistani Physicians in Northern Europe (APPNE) would like to inform in members, fellow doctors and the population at large regarding its activities in the current unprecedented times with corona virus pandemic and issues and concerns faced by the doctors community and measures taken by the organization to address the.

APPNE recognized the challenges faced by IMGs stranded in the UK due to COVID-19 pandemic crisis and created a task force to find ways of helping them. It took immediate measures and since then we have taken the following actions with the fruitful results:

1. APPNE created a database of all IMGs and identified their individual needs. Most importantly it was ascertained that the individuals are safe and appropriately maintained.

2. APPNE wrote to Health and Home Secretary urging them to utilize the services of those who have passed PLAB so that they can help NHS in this hour of dire need and allow them to apply for in-country visa status change. Since then APPNE has known that visa extension has been granted to those residing currently in the UK until 31/05/2020

3. Further, APPNE wrote letters to home secretary and NHS chief executive officer about expediting the process of granting TIER 2 Visa allowing them to work in NHS until they get Tier2 Visa. We highlighted in the letter that police certificate in these circumstances might not be possible to get from the home country and we suggested to them to consider this during the process of grant. APPNE wrote to GMC regarding ‘Good standing certificate suggesting to allow flexibility if it was possible. GMC has since agreed to be accommodative in supporting IMG’s.

4. As a result of this UK Visa and Immigration service updated its guidance on the Gov.UK website. Visa extension has been granted to those in UK until 31st May 2020 enabling them to apply for inter country visa switch i.e. from within U.K.

5. APPNE has contacted different trusts urging them to hire those who have passed PLAB 2 and are keen to serve NHS in the current crisis. North West specialty school and Wrightington Wigan and Leigh trust has already contacted candidates offering them posts in the new field hospital Nightingale hospital opened at five sites across the UK.

6. APPNE is in communication with Health Education England via HEWM to establish a central portal to invite overseas doctors to apply for NHS jobs specially keeping into consideration the Covid19 crisis. Further details to follow.

7. Further to that, APPNE is pleased to inform that GMC registration process has been started for IMGs who have passed PLAB 2 _ GMC work was suspended for a while.

8. APPNE has contacted Pakistan High Commission about PIA chartered flights to take IMGs back home and chartered flights will start in the first week of April to bring British nationals back from Pakistan. Since then APPNE has sent the list of IMGs stranded here and wish to go back and is in communication with PHC in this regard.

9. APPNE has also facilitated the return of stranded Pakistani origin doctors back to U.K.

10. APPNE has also contacted candidates whose PLAB2 was cancelled due to COVID and has made a list. We are trying to get them early dates for exams but in the interim utilize their help in other support roles within NHS.

11. APPNE Executives and Members have been offering pastoral and moral support to those in need and created a ‘Hardship Fund.’ This fund will be utilized to help IMGs needing material assistance and it will be audited and details will be made to public.

12. APPNE will send letter of condolences to the family of health care workers who lost their life during this pandemic

13. APPNE has contacted Pakistan President Office and raised the issue of recognition of house job certificate and issuance of certificates of good standing outstanding due to dissolution of PMDC – PMDC has been reinstated and started working from this week.

14. APPNE has demanded PPE provision for NHS staff and increasing awareness on social media. We are fully aware of the concerns of our fraternity and will keep raising our voices to ensure that our doctors are fully equipped.

15. APPNE has also raised the issue of in-service death benefit for both COVID related and not related to COVID must be granted to health professionals. We are liaising with BMA & BAPIO in this regard.

16. All APPNE efforts are not in isolation but are being collectively managed with other supporting organizations like BAPIO, BIMA, Bangladesh doctors & Sri-Lankan doctors organization.

17. We are very thankful to H.E. Mr Nafees Zakaria (HC of Pakistan in U.K.) and staff of Pakistan HC, staff in the office The President of Pakistan Islamabad, colleagues in GMC, Home Office and Department of Health for their continuous support in these extra-ordinary times.

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