I am a medical doctor with work experience in the Scottish hospitals, with the Scottish government and within Scottish communities. I came from southern Pakistan and graduated there as a doctor of medicine in 2003. After working in hospitals and with communities in Pakistan I decided to get a postgraduate degree in Public Health Medicine. I came to Scotland in 2007 to study at the University of Glasgow.
Inspired by the Scottish public health network, I decided to get work experience in Scotland. After about a dozen interviews, I was selected for the position of Public Health Adviser in the NHS, a job that I really wanted to do. As a public health adviser, I developed policies and intervention working with the Scottish Government and NHS boards on topics like ‘Healthy ageing in Scotland’, ‘Dementia’ and ‘Sexual health’.
After working for about four years in public health, I decided to come back to hospital based work in 2012 with the aim of joining the GP training programme. I like to work in communities and I'm a medic, so this programme was giving me a blend of my experience from public health and medicine. I was selected for GP training; it wasn't easy, but I was lucky. I am working as a specialty trainee at the moment and looking forward to becoming a GP in a few years.
It is sad that some sections of media are hitting hard on immigration recently, forcing authorities to draw policies without considering the long term impacts. Hospitals in the UK are struggling for doctors these days. Where I work just now, we are short of doctors to the extent that my consultants have to do night shifts to cover for vacant middle grade doctors positions. A few months ago I was working in a very critical unit in Glasgow where we had to do several unpaid extra hours as the department never managed to fill doctors’ vacancies.
I also work with Police Scotland as a community adviser. I am an amateur calligrapher and my work has been exhibited in the Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Arts. As an immigrant to this country, I believe I got opportunities to contribute in diverse areas not only based on my skills, but due to the fact that Scotland has a strong policy of equal opportunities.
I love Scotland because of its rich tradition of tolerance, freedom of expression, generosity and hospitability. I would not like to see any of these qualities going downhill in future. I'd like the communities who are settling down to integrate in the local Scottish landscape. It has to come from both ways.