Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

As the exodus of doctors and nurses from Croatia to the rest of the EU becomes more and more evident, people have even begun to fight to work without proper UK qualifications. I am currently sitting at work listening to the nurses in Dvor talking about moving and the logistics of working in the UK. These people cannot speak a word of English and are already planning their move to the UK.

A little bit of background story. I grew up mostly in the US, but am not an American citizen. My father was a diplomat and our family started off in McLean, VA when it was a poorer neighborhood of DC. All my childhood friends are from the US and I my mother tongue is English as my parents didn’t really use Malay as a family language. I was never connected to Malaysia and if you asked me to name any of my cousins, I don’t know their names (as they were referred to by nick names). I graduated from NC State University with my Bachelor’s in Biochemistry and after two years, went to University of Zagreb (previously Harvard Medical International) for medical school. I graduated in 2009, passed the Croatian State Exam and got licensed with the Croatian Medical Chamber. I started working on the coast and currently hold a position in the Department of Emergency Medicine Sisak-Moslavina County.

I wanted to specialize in the UK to do my specialization in my mother language. After working in Croatia for years, I would like to live somewhere a bit more normal. All around me, I have seen my colleagues move up north to a better education, better facilities and a more stable life. So I decided to ask the General Medical Council UK and Irish Medical Council about the procedures in which to proceed. Looking only at my nationality, they told me I need to sit for the PLAB or licensing exam again AND take an English language test.

The Croatians have the same qualifications as I do, and having a Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry, I’m actually more qualified and have more experience in more facets of medicine.

Dear Sir or Ma’am,

I am confused by the website, because it doesn’t have the information held or it seems unfair for a person in my position. I am a Malaysian citizen who has been living in Croatia for the past 13 years. As a quick background story, my parents were diplomats and I grew up in the USA. Either way, I hope you can see that my English is proficient enough and currently I have to practice medicine in Croatian, which is very difficult.

So I would like to continue my career in the UK. There are a few factors I need answered / addressed. As you know since Croatia joined the EU, there has been a steady flow of Croatian doctors to the EU and some of my colleagues / friends have left and have not needed to pass the PLAB or IELTS. However, I have been told that I need to pass both just based on my nationality and not my qualifications.

I graduated from the University of Zagreb Faculty of Medicine (EU school) as a medical doctor and from North Carolina State University (USA) as a biochemist (pre-med). I hope that I can get information on the bureaucracy of the GMC. I also do not understand the registration to GMC and then the extra fees for registration as a specific type of doctor (GP or specialist).

If I just register to the GMC, does that not mean I’m licensed or is that paying 400 GBP for having my name on a list? Do I still have to pay the 1600 GBP registration fees as a GP, which I assume is a general practitioner?

Thank you for your time in answering my questions.


Dr. Azman


Dear Dr Azman

Thank you for your email about applying for registration.

If a doctor has a European nationality then they have freedom of movement being a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) which is why some of your colleagues who are Croatian don’t need to do the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test. However, as your nationality is Malaysian then you are classed as an International Medical Graduate (IMG) and there are four routes to registration:

a. a pass in the PLAB test
b. sponsorship by a GMC approved sponsor
c. possession of an acceptable postgraduate qualification
d. eligibility for entry onto the Specialist or GP Registers.
The annual retention fee for a registered and licensed doctor is £425 per year. The £1600 is an application fee to get onto either the GP or Specialist Register. Once on there then the annual retention fee is the same (currently £425).

If you want to work as a General Practitioner (GP) in the UK then you need to be on the GP register. The application is known as a CEGPR (Certificate of Eligibility onto the GP Register). You would need to read the following specialty specific guidance:

If you would like to discuss this further then please ring our Contact Centre (telephone: 0161 923 6602 (+44 161 923 6602 from outside the UK) who will be happy to help you. We are open Monday to Friday 08:00-18:00 and Saturday 09:00-18:00. Alternatively. please reply to my email.

Yours sincerely


Ann Swire
Contact Centre Adviser
Registration and Revalidation Directorate
Telephone: 0161 923 6602 (+44 161 923 6602 from outside the UK)

It is pure discrimination. I have contacted the EU Ombudsman, but need legal advice to see if I have a case. Since I moved to the EU, I have seen more discrimination, more racism, more segregation of cultures than in North Carolina, one of the southern states.



“The total number of licensed doctors in Croatia is about 18000 and according to the data from NHII in April 2012 there were 2340 GP/FPs. 47% of them are specialists, and only 23% are men. Most of the GPs/FPs , 85%, work as self-employees with contracts to NIHI (official data from Croatian Medical Chamber, 11.01.2012). 15% of GPs/FPs work as public employees at Medical Health Centers.” –

That is 1 primary care physician per 500 people approximately. UK has about 1:400.  South Africa has 1:1500. The problem is distribution of PCP. So basically, people are also leaving after joining the EU.

My question is: Where did all the doctors go? Think about it. Every country is in deficit as long as I read. Is there one island in the pacific where there is like 1 doctor for every 10 people? Are Saudi countries stealing all of them with money?

I asked the recruiter for the UK one day and he said that UK/Irish doctors are leaving to Australia for better weather. That is understandable. Then I read that Madagascar has only 5 mobile units. That is to cover the ENTIRE country.

The USA is not lacking doctors, but has more specialists than primary care physicians than any country. People live the American dream, work, specialize and then earn more money. However, there is always a lack.

So where do all the doctors go?

And why am I not there?

I really hope it’s Hawai’i.

Dear Sirs and Ma’am,

As pointed out by Mr. Hanapi, my style of letter writing is rude and to the point.  As I pointed out, nobody reads emails fully nor do they care, because nobody takes the time to reply.  That is my Malaysian opening sentence.
Now to the real email.  Thank you for solving the issue with the passport.  Rather, thank you for making me lose a very good job.  Now I will be homeless for one and a half months out of Croatia until I can try again.  I know that washing the passport is my fault, as accidents do happen, but the level of incompetence that I encountered while trying to remedy my accident is extremely unspeakable.  Unfortunately and unlike doctors, government SERVANTS cannot get fired from their practice due to incompetence.  Let’s review what went wrong, review and formally complain to Wisma Putra, because not only is the service from government SERVANTS lacking, but I did LOSE MY JOB over this one.  Here are the facts:
1. I washed my passport on Friday morning and immediately called Mr. Hanapi Hussin at the Malaysian Embassy in Zagreb.  He dismissed it until Monday, but could have easily seen me for 15 minutes to get the paperwork filled in and Fedex-ed to JIM London by Monday.  This would save one weekend (three days).
2. I understand the need to take holidays during Eid, but Monday was not Eid.  I also understand the long line of Malaysian citizens needing to renew their passport and the vast amounts of immigrants needing to get their visas.  So I allocated a few days for the passport to be ready, which according to Jesmin Jamar, the passport was ready.  This was surprising as I thought it would take longer.  Here is the reply email dated October 18, 2013
“Jesmin Jamar
Oct 18
to malberne, me, Ruzaidi, Mohamad 
Salam Muhammad Zeitsev Azman,
As I have explained to you yesterday in tele-conversation and email earlier, we do not arrange courier service on behalf of applicant. Your new passport is ready to be picked up since yesterday. Please inform your local courier agent do not need to call us for re-confirmation.
Just simply come and pick-up. The courier agent has to provide their envelope and shipment waybill for us to fill-up upon collection:”
3.  However, I could not afford the shipment back and had no money.  My mother sent me 100 Euro and I sent a courier to pick up the package, but another government SERVANT Mr. Syed Faizal Mustaffa told them that the passport was not ready and I needed to show proof of my visa (which is a stamp in the passport that got destroyed, which was inspected by Mr. Hanapi Hussin) and a CERTIFIED (this costs about 50kn to JUST PHOTOCOPY) copy of my IC, which disappeared when I mailed it to my parents 2-3 years ago.
4. So I emailed Mr. Syed Faizal Mustaffa saying that I could not comply with his requests, because of the appropriate reasons.  I cannot call, because I do not have money, because I am not working, because of reasons listed on my blog which no government SERVANT takes the time to read, because I have sent so many emails to the prime minister to help me change the regulations in Malaysia.
5. Then after a lot of silence from JIM London and no replies of emails from the Embassy of Malaysia AND JIM London, my father sent someone to pick up the passport, who apparently:
a. called the Embassy the day before to ask if the passport is ready for pickup and the answer was positive.
b. drove 3 hours to the center of London.
c. was told to come back on Friday instead, because the passport was still “not ready”.
6. She then called Fedex to mail it and I understand vacations and All Saints Day, but I don’t understand why they told her there was no overnight service from the UK to Croatia, where there was an overnight Fedex International Priority from Croatia to the UK.  Apparently it costs 460kn to ship an envelope with next day delivery to the UK, but costs 660kn from the UK to Croatia that is not guaranteed next day delivery.
From the series of events and people’s incompetence at their jobs, I lost mine and will soon be homeless in Europe and will have no more contact through email, phone, etc.  I am not trying to put this guilty feeling on all of you for ruining the life of a very good diagnostician, but I am going to file this complaint also to Wisma Putra and Fedex UK, so that I hope people get fired for being incompetent.
I know I can survive on the streets, but if these people keep ruining lives of other people, I’m not sure how other people can take it.  Usually it is suicide.  However, I know none of the higher people will take this email seriously and will not even slap these people on the wrist, but I really hope that karma catches up to you.
These people need to be punished:
  1. Mr. Hanapi Hussin for not doing his job as a third secretary (nothing was done face to face, but through the receptionist when I came to the Embassy) DURING OFFICE HOURS.
  2. Mr. Syed Faizal Mustaffa for false claims and lack of communication on the passport’s status.  And apparently by living on the streets, I am NOT IN THE BEST STATE OF IMAN AND HEALTH just because of incompetent people like you.
  3. Fedex UK who claims that there is no international priority service to Croatia, where Fedex Croatia claims that there is.
Just to be clear on how unfair this is, I am trying to work in a country where I earn about 900 Euro (6500 kn) for being a general practitioner.  I get scrutinized if I do not do my job at 110% and people talk about how bad a doctor is and if they file a complaint and they would lose their job and license.  I AM NOT ALLOWED to be incompetent.  I DO NOT have money.  Yet, I am trying to work here, because of the reasons listed on my blog.
I have been delaying applying for my work permit for a GP position in Zagreb (this is a very rare job, by the way), because of the incompetence of the Embassy staff and if I can only get mypassport on THURSDAY because Fedex is unidirectional, then I LOST MY JOB.
  1. Thank you for picking up the passport and Fedex-ing it to me.  I will pay you back when I get my first pay check from the job that I lost.  Oh wait!  I will be homeless and on the streets thanks to the people listed above.  So I’m sorry.  I will try to beg for enough money to pay you back.
  2. Thank you for Jesmin Jamar for making the passport so quickly.  You are doing a great job and are very efficient. Wisma Putra should give you a raise or promote you.
  3. I complained to higher officials.  Please see attachments.
So thank you,
Dr. Azman