Vol. 12 No. 1 (2019): The Timeless Mahatma
Ethnicity & Diaspora

A Historical Look at Indian Healthcare Professionals in the NHS

Balmukund Bhala
Wellingborough General Hospital, UK
Aruna Bhala
Northampton General Hospital, UK
Neeraj Bhala
University Hospitals Birmingham, UK
Gandhi on his salt walk

Published 2020-04-19


  • NHS,
  • Indian,
  • Healthcare professionals

How to Cite

Bhala, B., Bhala, A., & Bhala, N. (2020). A Historical Look at Indian Healthcare Professionals in the NHS. Sushruta Journal of Health Policy & Opinion, 12(1), 19–21. https://doi.org/10.38192/12.1.10


Doctors and nurses from the Indian subcontinent have been working in the UK healthcare sector for over a 100 years. Initially only open to Europeans, Indians were allowed to enter the Indian Medical Service (IMS) in 1855, although the requisite was that they had to sit exams based in London and had to be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). At the time there were many schools training Indian doctors, but only as licentiates. In relation to medical education, through pressure applied by the IMS, indigenous courses for the training of Indian doctors were abolished and several medical colleges, modelled along western pedagogic styles, were established. The staff of all these colleges were appointed from the IMS and their methods of instruction were virtually indistinguishable from those practised in England and Scotland. Indian degrees were recognised in 1892 by the GMC and this recognition persisted until 1975, with a short interlude in the mid-1930s when there was a dispute between the GMC and the Government of India about the quality of Indian medical education. 1


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