Letter: Bigots of Dover

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The Independent Culture
Sir: For the first time as a British citizen of Indian origin, I feel as if I have wasted 24 years of my professional life, serving one of the most ungrateful and racially prejudiced societies in the world.

I came to Britain in 1975. During my early years as a senior house officer in NHS hospitals, I had to work well over 100 hours a week in the accident and emergency departments, giving life-saving treatment to sick and injured British subjects.

After passing my higher exams, I worked as a registrar in some of the busiest maternity units in this country. I must have delivered hundreds of British subjects with my own hands. On many occasions, I had to live and sleep in the labour ward room, for up to seven days at a stretch, to meet the demand created by chronic medical staff shortage, a well-known feature of the slowly crumbling NHS.

I decided to take up general practice so that I could start some sort of a family life. However, as a solo GP in the NHS, I now find myself responsible for providing cradle to grave care for more than 2,300 British subjects and their families, 365 days a year.

But today, for my 24 years of service to the citizens of this country, I was humiliated by a clerk of the British Foreign Office in New Delhi, when he refused to grant a three-month visitor entry permit to my 72-year- old mother who wanted to come here for medical treatment under my care.

If this is a reflection of Mr Blair's racially tolerant Labour government, then I feel ashamed of calling myself a British citizen.

Dr SIRAJ SHAH

Gravesend, Kent

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