NHS Doctors Trapped In Sudan Told By Foreign Office To Make Their Own Way Back To UK

"I feel like I've been kicked out, to be honest," one doctor – who has worked in the UK for four years – said.
British nationals board an RAF aircraft in Sudan, for evacuation to Larnaca International Airport in Cyprus on April 26, 2023 in Khartoum, Sudan.
British nationals board an RAF aircraft in Sudan, for evacuation to Larnaca International Airport in Cyprus on April 26, 2023 in Khartoum, Sudan.
Handout via Getty Images

NHS doctors who are not UK nationals are still trapped in Sudan, according to reports – and the Foreign Office is refusing to evacuate them.

According to BBC Newsnight, there are 24 doctors who have UK work visas who are not able to get back to the UK because they don’t have a British passport.

Dr Abdulrahman Babiker, a registrar at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, told the programme on Thursday that he feels like “I have been kicked out, to be honest”.

When the fighting broke out Sudan – prompted by a power struggle between two generals – he joined the 16-hour queue to try to get on a British evacuation flight.

But he claimed that a member of staff at the passport check-in refused to help him, telling him: ”We have work to do, I’m really sorry for that.”

He said he was thrown out of the airport by a soldier.

Dr Babiker continued: “They didn’t say, ’OK, you need to wait until there’s a vacancy, there’s some other priority, I would be happy with that, to wait, I’m more than happy to wait for other people to be evacuated before me.

“But to not have any chance to be evacuated in this very risky area and deadly fight... with all these years I’ve been working since before Covid, during Covid, until now – I’m really feeling so disappointed.”

He has been working in the UK for four years, and arrived in Sudan two weeks ago for a holiday to see his family. He was due to resume his job at the Manchester Royal Infirmary next week.

The British government has been advising people not to go to Sudan unless it was essential for months.

Although fighting in the country broke out on April 15, the UK was only able to evacuate diplomats and government workers in Sudan on Sunday, and waited until there was a 72-hour ceasefire earlier this week before it started to remove any UK passport-holders.

A renewed 72-hour ceasefire in Sudan is now in place and due to end at midnight on April 30, sparking hope that more of the 4,000 British nationals in the country might be able to be evacuated.

But, according to BBC Newsnight, the Foreign Office said that people with UK visas can still come to the UK – but have to get there themselves.

It’s worth noting that the gov.uk website says: “We can only evacuate British passport holders and immediate family members (spouse/partner and children under 18 years old) who are either non-visa nationals or those with existing UK entry clearance.

“This is defined as anyone with a valid UK visa / visa vignette in their passport, or a UK Biometric Residence permit.”

The government has been trying to manage expectations about how many people it can remove from the country for several days, explaining on its website: “We cannot guarantee how many further flights will depart. Flights may stop at very short notice.”

It also lists routes for people to escape Sudan via other means, such as travelling to neighbouring countries.

The British Embassy in Khartoum is closed, and there is a “temporary presence in Port Sudan”, though it is “severely restricted” in offering consular support.


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