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Ailing Indian doctor in Britain to return to Kolkata

A doctor from India who came to Britain in 2002 to work in the National Health Service but was stranded when he had to quit his job due to an incurable brain disease, will now be// able to return to India thanks to a campaign by a local newspaper in Sunderland.

Kaushik Chatterjee, a doctor from Kolkata, came to Britain in the spring of 2002 and initially worked in London. Later, he was appointed senior house officer in elderly care at Sunderland Royal Hospital in February 2003.

His case was taken up by The Sunderland Echo, a local newspaper, which highlighted his difficulties regarding his inability to return back to India due to paucity of funds.

He could not apply for benefits because of his visa difficult situation. As part of his 10-year visa agreement, the newspaper reported that he was required to hand over his passport to the Home Office officials after appointment in the Sunderland hospital.

Within weeks of joining, Chatterjee's colleagues noticed that he was having difficulty in walking. A scan revealed that he was suffering from spinocerebellar degeneration, a genetic condition, which affects mobility and speech.

Chatterjee was allowed to continue living in student accommodation by the hospital and survived on charitable contributions.

The newspaper highlighted his plight earlier this month, which led to several offers of help. Hundreds of pounds were raised to meet the cost of food and Chatterjee's flight home.

The newspaper said that his case was taken up by Tahri Khan from the Unity Organisation, a multicultural centre.

Khan said that the Home Office had returned Chatterjee's passport and he would be arranging a flight, hopefully before next week so that he could return home to Kolkata.

Chatterjee told mediapersons: "I'm ecstatic. I want to be home as soon as possible. I'm very grateful to everybody who has helped. It's very frustrating. I came to make a career in England. I did all my studying, I did everything - I didn't take any short cuts."

He will be accompanied on his journey home to Kolkata by Lynne Swanson, 55, of Ashbrooke, whose heart was touched by his story.

Swanson said: "I was full of hell when I read about it. I think it's a shame it didn't come to light sooner."

Khan accused the government of failing to care for Chatterjee.

Chatterjee said his mother did not yet know that he would soon return home.


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