Indian doctor charged with enslaving servant in UK – India


24 jun 2016

A PSYCHIATRIST and her marine engineer husband – who were described as a ‘decent’ young family from Rochdale – have been charged with turning their ‘au pair’ into a slave.

Mrs Chopra works as a NHS psychiatrist and her husband as a marine engineer
A 28-year-old woman was found allegedly living as a slave, Greater Manchester Police said.

Officers arrested arrested Minu and Sanjeev Chopra, both 47, woman on suspicion of slavery, servitude and forced labour offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 on Thursday.

The well-renowned psychiatrist and her marine engineer husband have been accused of bringing a 28-year-old ‘au pair’ to Britain and turning her into a slave.

The mother-of-one of Cranbourne Road, appeared before Manchester magistrates on Saturday and was remanded into custody.

The couple are expected to appear together at Manchester Minshull St Crown Court on March 11.

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The pair have been charged with slavery offences

The couple – who lived in an upmarket area – at the Olympic torch rally

The couple, who had a young eight-year-old son, have been accused of exploiting the au pair nanny and with holding her in slavery or servitude.

Neighbours of the couple in the upmarket Bamford area of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, described the couple as “decent”.

One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “There must have been some mistake over the paperwork or something like that because I see her around a lot.

“She never seemed in distress and she’s been with them for two years in that house. I think she was with them in their previous house as well.

“I have spoken to her many times and she has never made any complaint to me. She never seemed upset or anything like that.”

Mr and Mrs Chopra, who were pictured at the Olympic Torch relay in 2012, each face a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison if convicted under the Slavery Act.

Dr Chopra was described as working as a psychiatrist at the Royal Bolton Hospital while her husband described himself as a chief engineer for Herald Marine services – a company with its headquarters in Mumbai, India.

Couple face maximum sentence of 14 years if convicted under Slavery Act

The offences come under the Modern Slavery Act 2015

There must have been some mistake over the paperwork or something like that

Neighbour of the Chopras

The pair have been charged with holding a person in slavery or servitude, intentionally arranging or facilitating entry into the UK of a person with a view to their exploitation and knowingly holding another person in slavery or servitude.

The alleged offences relate to two periods spanning five years.

The alleged victim was removed from the property and is being cared for by partner agencies, police added.

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Indian doctor falsely charged in UK – India


24 jun 2016

The Daily Mail issued an apology to Dr. Narendra Sharma Jan. 26 for reporting that he was accused of sexual assault but not reporting that Sharma was “found not guilty of all charges.”  The Daily Mail’s original story from March 30, 2009, was titled “Doctor ‘abused abortion patients’.”

A search of the Mail’s website for Sharma’s name only produces the apology and correction — not the original story.

The Mail apologized: “The trial judge stated that he could ‘leave the Court without a stain on [his] character’.  We are happy to set the record straight and apologise to Dr Sharma for the distress and embarrassment caused.”

The Metro likewise published the same apology to Sharma.

In an April 2009 article in The Advertiser, Sharma is quoted as saying that the allegations “led to my 80-year-old mother, who lives in India, having a heart attack.

“It is very drastic and embarrassing in India for anyone to be accused of sexual abuse, let alone a doctor.  Anything like this brings shame not just on me but on the whole family.”

LONDON:  An Indian-origin doctor is facing charges before Britain’s regulator, the General Medical Council, of assaulting patients sexually while working as a anaesthetist at a clinic in Manchester.

Narendra Sharma abused and molested patients during abortions, according to co-workers who testified during the hearing.

The charge against Sharma was that while being employed  at the Marie Stopes (International) Clinic in Manchester, Sharma acted toward three patients in a manner that was indecent and sexually motivated and thereby abused his professional position.

He allegedly used the hands of sedated patients to perform obscene acts on himself during abortion procedures.

Dr. Sharma faced an allegation of misconduct after two medical workers gave statements against him. One staff member said she saw Sharma take a woman’s left hand and move it under the operating table during an abortion procedure.

Healthcare workers also made allegations against the doctor.

The hearing is going on, and Sharma’s record on the GMC register shows that he issuspended. Sharma gained his medical qualifications from Poona University in 1980.

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Thousands of Indian doctors leave UK – India


24 jun 2016

London, Feb 16 (IANS) Nearly 5,000 Indian doctors have so far returned home after failing to find suitable employment in Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).

The figure of 5,000 returning to India since April 2006 is approximate, and the actual figure could be more. The doctors had passed the requisite tests for employment in the NHS, but failed to find jobs due to changes in immigration rules and a larger pool of available doctors from within Britain and the European Union.

Many more face the prospect of returning home after the Feb 9 high court ruling that disallowed a judicial review of the changes made in April 2006. All attention is now focussed on the ongoing recruitment process for 21,000 NHS jobs starting August 2007, according to leaders of the Indian medical community here.

The current recruitment is part of a new system called Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) that came into effect this year. From Jan 22 to Feb 4 more than 30,000 doctors applied for the 21,000 available jobs in various specialities – and 10,000-12,000 applicants of them are said to be Indians.

Shortlisting of candidates for the jobs is expected to be completed by Feb 24 and interviews will take place in the first week of March.

Leaders of the Indian medical community are working to ensure that the Indian applicants are not adversely affected in the recruitment process by the Feb 9 ruling of the high court. Those who are not selected in this round will also face the prospect of returning home.

Lakshman Raman, vice-chair (policy) of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), told IANS that if the new rules issued in April 2006 were applied, there would be practically two shortlists for the NHS posts – one of British and EU citizens and another pile of Indian and other overseas doctors.

‘The second list would only be considered for jobs that are not filled using doctors in the first list. Since BAPIO went to court and the verdict was announced on Feb 9 we believe so far the new rules have not been applied.

‘After the verdict, BAPIO has written to the Department of Health (DoH), asking that they continue to hold the new rules in abeyance as we are going to appeal and we hope they will agree to this request.

‘We will need to apply for a stay order only if the DoH does not agree to hold the new rules in abeyance while awaiting the appeal. They are still considering their options and will get back to us on this.’

The BAPIO legal team is working on the appeal petition that can be filed within three weeks of the Feb 9 ruling. Raman said that BAPIO had decided to file the appeal before March 2 and had launched another fund-raising drive among Indian doctors to meet legal costs.

Raman added: ‘We are collecting funds for the appeal process and the initial response from our members and the wider doctor and Indian community has been encouraging. We understand that the judiciary understands the importance of this and will process it expeditiously.

‘Since the MMC process only comes into force for jobs starting August 2007, the implications for doctors will be only from August 2007. Doctors who are currently in jobs will be able to continue till August 2007 when if their current job has got over and if they have not managed to get another job they may have to consider returning home.

‘We fear that if the new rules are applied there may be many thousands of doctors unable to find a job from August 2007.’

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Indian doctor jailed in UK for misdiagnosis – India


24 jun 2016

An Indian doctor on deputation in Britain has been jailed for two-and-a-half years for man slaughter after wrongly diagnosing a patient who later died. Bala Kovvali, 64, was found guilty of “criminal negligence” for the “wholly preventable death” of Andre Fellows in June, 2009, at Sheffield Crown Court, yesterday.

Kovvali ignored the classic signs of diabetes-related poisonous acids building up in 42-year-old Fellows and diagnosed him as “depressed with a headache”.

A test would have alerted the doctor to raised blood-sugar levels and it is “virtually certain” Fellows would have survived with an insulin injection and rehydration, the court was told.

“It was criminal negligence and a wholly preventable death followed,” said Judge Roger Keen.

“You have devoted your working life to caring for others. I have seen glowing references as to your competence, empathy and thoughtfulness. It is a tragedy for you that this brought about an end to your career, destroyed your good character and your ability to work in this country. However, the nature of your offending is too serious for anything other than a custodial sentence,” the judge said.

According to a Daily Mail report, Kovvali was based in India but flew to Britain to work every summer for two or three months for the UK-wide doctors’ deputising service Prime care.

He qualified as a doctor in India in 1973, completed his

training before becoming a general practitioner and was based in Sheffield between 1981 and 1988.

He was arrested in the US last year and extradited after a Sheffield coroner had adjourned an inquest into Fellows’ death for police investigations.

Kovvali admitted causing the death of Fellows by gross negligence in failing to carry out an adequate clinical assessment, failing to send the patient to hospital as an emergency when he paid him a home visit as a locum and failing to diagnose diabetic ketoacidosis from which he died.

Prosecutor Michael Burrows said, Fellows, who lived with his family in Hands worth, Sheffield, had no medical history of diabetes but suffered from anxiety and depression.

Kovvali’s defence lawyer said the father of two had “misdirected” himself. He had a particular interest in mental health matters and coupled with Fellows not taking his medication it led him to rule out diabetes as a risk factor, his lawyer said.

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Indian doctor suspended for improper examination in UK – India


24 jun 2016

An Indian-origin doctor was suspended in London on Tuesday, following a hearing at the Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal Service (MPTS), after three women complained against him for sexual offences, including an unwarranted breast examination to see if they were “still milking”.

Dr Mahesh Patwardhan (in pic), who got his medical degree from Bombay University in 1986, worked in Mumbai for eight years before moving to London, where he worked as a gynaecologist and obstetrician at several prominent hospitals, including Newham General Hospital, Royal London Hospital, North Middlesex Hospital, Blackheath Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He has also taught at KEM and Wadia Hospital.

The case that came up in a Fitness to Practise panel at the MPTS in Manchester, heard from three victims, how Patwardhan would allegedly ask them to remove their upper clothing and then ‘grope’ them from behind. Dr Patwardhan allegedly failed to offer a chaperone, make an accurate record of his examinations or offer an explanation for his actions. Patient A told the panel that in July 2008, during an appointment at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Patwardhan told her to remove her top and inappropriately touched her.

Patient B had a similar experience in September 2012, when Patwardhan allegedly touched her inappropriately and pressed against her. In both these cases, the panel could not find any medical reasons for the examination and believed them to be ‘sexually motivated’.

The third victim (Patient C) complained of sexual misconduct of a continuing nature. In Blackheath Hospital in May 2012, Patwardhan allegedly inappropriately touched and squeezed her breasts.

He allegedly said it was to check if they were ‘still milking’. He then asked her if she had any tattoos or piercings. When told there was one on her bottom, he allegedly helped her pull down her jeans, then smiled and said, ‘oh’.
Patwardhan allegedly called patient C ‘special’ and sometimes kissed and hugged her. He even patted her bottom at the end of the consultancy.

Calling Patwardhan a ‘continuing risk to patients’, the panel decided that in ‘wider public interest, particularly in maintenance of public confidence in the profession’, a mere period of suspension would not be enough.

Patwardhan’s say
Patwardhan maintained that he was innocent. He told the panel that he had no reason to ‘jeopardise his career’ when he had ‘everything going well’ for him in both his professional and family life. After 25 years in the medical profession, Patwardhan has claimed to treat about five million patients.

“Why would I do something like this and give away everything I have got over this time? There is no reason for me to do this,” he told the panel.

Patwardhan has been suspended until an erasure takes effect. He can appeal against this decision within 28 days.

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Training posts closed to foreign doctors – India


24 jun 2016

Training posts closed to many foreign doctors working here

As Ireland culls the number of foreign medical graduates who can train here, doctors seek opportunities elsewhere

Ireland’s reliance on international medical graduates is among the highest of the OECD countries: 34 per cent of doctors working in Ireland were trained overseas.

Many of these foreign doctors are prohibited from accessing training posts vital to their career advancement under a change in the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, which took effect in 2011.

Only doctors from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Sudan, South Africa(with an internship after 2006) and Pakistan (with an internship after 2008) can enter training jobs or specialisations.

The remainder of non-EU doctors cannot apply for training jobs, which eventually lead to specialisation and consultancy, regardless of their qualifications or experience.

According to the Medical Council’s 2014 workforce report, international graduates comprise 74 per cent of doctors working as non-consultant hospital physicians in non-training posts.

Ceiling effect

Dr Muhammad Shakeel Majeed is an endocrinology registrar at the Mater hospital in Dublin. He came to Ireland after being recruited in Pakistan in 2011 and accepted a training post at St James’s Hospital, Dublin. After eight months on the job, he was told he was ineligible for training because of the legislative change.

“I asked the Medical Council if there was any exam they wished me to do to get a training slot,” Majeed said. “They said unfortunately, I could never be eligible for a training post, so it was closed to not only me, but hundreds of other doctors working here in Ireland.”

Majeed decided to leave the post and take his current position, another non-training job. Meanwhile, he passed exams in the UK, where he could access the further training he wants. He hopes to stay in Ireland but will move to the UK if there is no other way to become a consultant.

“I graduated in 2007 and did a year of internship and two years of training in Pakistan. I was in a training post in my country. My colleagues working there are now consultants. And I left my training there . . . and here I am refused the training because my internship was before 2009. I have been working here in Ireland for three or four years,” he said. “Do you not consider that experience? And if I am not an experienced doctor, if I am not safe to the patient, why are you letting me work here in Ireland?”

Dr Wajiha Zia, a registrar in psychiatry at University Hospital Waterford, has had a similar experience. She came to Ireland “to work abroad and get better training” after she was recruited in her native Pakistan. She arrived in 2011.

“It’s limbo because, on the one hand, I’m doing the right things to progress my career,” she said. “On the other hand, I have these legislative and Medical Council rules making a ceiling effect. It’s sometimes heart-breaking when you’re trying so much. Eventually, if nothing happens, then probably I’ll move to some other country.”

Losing doctors

Dr Shakya Bhattacharjee from India is general secretary of the Overseas Medics of Ireland, an organisation for non-Irish medical professionals. “We want to work here, but if the situation doesn’t change, we’ll be forced to leave,” he said. “The UK is benefitting most from the Medical Practitioners Act. They are getting a lot of doctors, but Ireland needs doctors.

“The law was brought in to ensure patient safety, but in the long run it’s causing a doctor shortage and more trouble to patients,” Bhattacharjee added.

Statistics show that Irish-trained doctors are leaving as well. According to the Medical Council’s workforce report, there was a 23 per cent increase in Irish medical school graduates aged 25-29 leaving Ireland in 2013. One in 10 young doctors “exited” the practice of medicine that year.

Eric Young, assistant director of industrial relations at the Irish Medical Organisation, which represents doctors in Ireland, said that if the issue is not addressed, the potential loss to the Irish health system is great. “It’s treating doctors unequally,” he said. “It’s nonsense to allow doctors to work in a health system, treat patients and provide services and yet say they can’t avail of training posts. There should be a level of equivalence there.”

The standard of service those doctors are providing “is actually very good”, he said, and there is “no reason why they shouldn’t have access to training in the same way as other doctors”.

According to a spokeswoman for the Medical Council, there are different registration requirements depending on where a doctor is qualified. Doctors seeking registration in the Trainee Specialist Division who have qualified outside Europe must meet a number of criteria, which are set out in the Medical Practitioners Act 2007.

The legislation requires that, for doctors from outside of Europe, to pursue postgraduate training in the Trainee Specialist Division, doctors must (1) either pass or be exempt from a pre-registration examination, or (2) hold a “Certificate of Experience” or equivalent. The certificate verifies that an applicant has completed an internship which is equivalent to one completed in Ireland.

The Medical Practitioners Act 2007 itself states that it is “for the purpose of better protecting and informing the public in its dealings with medical practitioners and, for that purpose, to introduce measures, in addition to measures providing for the registration and control of medical practitioners, to better ensure the education, training and competence of medical practitioners . . .”

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “The Medical Practitioners Act 2007 provides that nationals of a third country can only be registered in the Trainee Specialist Division of the Medical Council’s Register if they have passed the Council’s PRES examination or are exempt from the PRES, because they hold a higher qualification, have an approved training post and have been granted in a third country a document which, in the opinion of the Council, is at least the equivalent of a certificate of experience.

“This means that only nationals of non EEA countries whose certificate of experience is recognised by the Medical Council as equivalent to the Irish certificate of experience can register in the Trainee Specialist Division. Currently, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sudan and Malaysia’s certificate of experience are considered to be equivalent to the Irish certificate of experience.

“Discussions are now ongoing with the Department of Health and the Medical Council on the issue on specialist training access for non EEA countries including an examination of the intern programme conducted in India, received from the Medical Council of India.”

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At 70 woman gives birth helped by Indian doctor – India


16 apr 2016

AN IVF doctor who famously created the world’s oldest first-time mum is encouraging British women to fly to India for treatment.

Dr Anurag Bishnoi, 39, who heads the National Fertility Centre in Hisar, North-West India, has for the last eight years been responsible for making hundreds of older women, aged over 60, mothers for the first time.

And he is so proud of his achievements he is welcoming British women turned away from UK IVF centres because of their age to make an appointment at his clinic.

Dr Anurag Bishnoi at his clinic in Hisar, India
Baby hopes … IVF expert Dr Bishnoi at his clinic in Hisar, India Shariq Allaqaband / Cover Asia Press

He said: “A woman’s age is no factor for me when I consider helping her become a mother.

“I am only concerned with their pre and post-pregnancy health.

“Death cannot be controlled: nobody can guarantee a person’s life. Young women even die during childbirth.

“We cannot deny treating older women just in case they will not live to see their children grow.

Women of all ages wait to see Dr Bishnoi
Last chance … women of all ages wait to see Dr Bishnoi Shariq Allaqaband / Cover Asia Press

“I feel it’s my duty to help women cherish their role as a woman and become mothers no matter what their age.”

Guidelines in the UK suggest that women over 42 should not be given IVF, according to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

The age limit for NHS-funded fertility treatments in Scotland is 38, and 39 in Northern Ireland.

But India’s medical culture emphasises the mother’s right to create life rather than the rights of the child — and doctors do not need to take into account a mother’s age, only her physique.

Dr Bishnoi has single-handedly been creating the world’s oldest mums for almost a decade after his own mother started the trend.

World’s oldest first-time mum, Rajo, and daughter Naveen
Joy … world’s oldest first-time mum, Rajo, and daughter Naveen Shariq Allaqaband / Cover Asia Press

He said: “My parents were gynaecology doctors so I grew up around talk of women desperate for children and how important it was for them to become a mother.

“My mother was an IVF genius and she was the one who started accepting older women at our clinic.

“One day a woman aged 48 came in and she was desperate to become a mother. She was healthy and further tests proved she was fit to carry so we went ahead. It was successful and word soon spread.”

But it was only in 2008 when Dr Bishnoi helped Rajo Devi give birth at 70 that his patient list went through the roof.

Rajo successfully becoming a mother so late in life was a huge chapter in Indian IVF history.

Naveen Devi was born thanks to Dr Bishnoi
Miraculous … Naveen, four, was born thanks to Dr Bishnoi Shariq Allaqaband / Cover Asia Press

Rajo — now 75 and still the world’s oldest first-time mum — admits to loving life with her four-year-old daughter, Naveen.

She said: “I don’t feel ashamed about becoming a first time mother at 70. I enjoyed it.

“It was a wonderful experience and I appreciated it much more at 70 than I would’ve done at 25.

“Being a mother — finally — has been wonderful. I feel very proud to be the oldest first-time mother in the world.

“I want to show other childless women that it’s possible — go and get treated, don’t wait a second.”

Bhateri Devi gave birth to her son and daughter at 66
Unusual … Bhateri Devi gave birth to her son and daughter at 66 Shariq Allaqaband / Cover Asia Press

Dr Bishnoi said: “We now see 6,000 women a month and 30 per cent of those are aged above 50.

“That’s approximately 1,800 women a month who are old enough to be grandmothers, never mind first time mothers, it’s quite amazing.”

An IVF cycle with Dr Bishnoi costs around £2,000, which is far cheaper that the £3,000 price tag in Britain.

Dr Bishnoi added: “Couples without children don’t feel part of normal society, it has terrible consequences on a couple’s self-esteem.

“For many, the joy of motherhood is far more important than seeing their children grow up to marry.”

Bhateri’s children were born three years ago
Breakthrough … Bhateri’s children were born three years ago Shariq Allaqaband / Cover Asia Press

But Dr Bishnoi doesn’t deny the risks involved.

He added: “We often abort babies if there is a serious risk to the woman’s life but it’s very rare. And all women over 45 have a caesarean delivery, never a natural birth.

“As long as my 60 and 70-year-old patients are fit I’ll continue to help them become mothers.”

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