13 January 2013

Nigeria: NMA Set to Address Ban On Some Nigerian Doctors Practicing in the UK

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) is determined to address the issue of the ban placed on some Nigerian-trained doctors practicing in the United Kingdom.

The British medical regulatory agency, the General Medical Council (GMC) recently placed a ban on some Nigerian and Indian-trained doctors from practicing in the UK.

President of the NMA, Dr Osaige Enabulele, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday that the news of the ban was shocking to the association and that efforts had been made to find out what criteria were used by the GMC in arriving at its decision.

Enabulele said that the irony of the situation was that the news came at a time when Nigerian medical professionals abroad, were being celebrated for excelling in the profession.

He said that the NMA would respond appropriately based on whatever feedback it received from the GMC.

"I must say that was news that caused a lot of chills down our spines because we have always believed that our professionals really are well trained.

"In spite of the challenging environment in which they do their training, and we see them perform excellently well in several departments even abroad.

"Very unfortunately the details we got as to the supportive evidence, criteria and all that that was used were very sketchy and as a responsible professional organisation, we have since written to the regulatory council GMC (General Medical Council) in Britain asking for more details, so that we can begin to make more objective assessment of even that decision that was taken by the GMC."

Enabulele added that the association had also invited the head of medical professionals in Britain to its national health summit holding in Asaba this month to throw more light on the GMC's decision.

He explained that each country had its own regulatory council saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that the conduct of professionals was ethical.

Giving that Nigerian and Indian doctors formed the highest population of immigrant professionals in Britain and America, Enabulele said that it was possible that one out of 10 would fall foul of regulatory provisions.

He said, however, that he expected the GMC to go beyond revealing deregistered Nigerian doctors to celebrate those who were excelling in the medical profession in Britain.

"Nigerians who go on medical tourism in Britain are treated mainly by their compatriots in the British facilities."

"So we believe that that in addition to the information we are going to receive from the GMC will help us to make an appropriate response.

"I do not want to make any assumptions as to what likely will be the response from the GMC.

"But in whatever case, even if we are convinced that this was the right situation, I think it only exposes to us or opens to us the fact that these are new challenges that we can drive some level of synergy with our professionals in Great Britain to strengthen that relationship and see how we can encourage ourselves.

"It's also an opportunity for us to see what else can be done to strengthen our Nigerian trained professionals that are out there and also to look at local environments where they are being trained.

"Because you will also appreciate that in Nigeria today every state wants to have a medical school, every state wants to have a tertiary institution and so there is some level of dislocation.

"It calls again to question the issue of reorganising medical and dental education and training in the Nigerian environment."

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