V.Q.E: The Tale of an Indian Physician in the United Kingdom of the 1980's
Vivek Gumaste, author
Was Great Britain of the 1980’s a welcoming place for a young man hailing from its former colony? How did the National Health Service exploit the vulnerable physicians from a newly independent and struggling India to fulfill its needs? What were the flaming hoops that a foreign physician had to jump through to further his professional career in the UK en route to a final destination in the United States? Read about all this in a gripping, event filled narrative- VQE- an acronym for the dreaded Visa Qualifying Exam, a grueling 2-day test that all foreign physicians had to pass to practice medicine in the United States. The author is a physician who graduated from a prestigious medical school in India more than 35 years ago and has practiced medicine in three countries- India, UK and USA. He holds numerous postgraduate qualifications- he is a Member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (MRCP-I), a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology and has a degree in Health Care management from Harvard University. In 1980, after completing medical school in India, he landed in Britain in pursuit of his dream to get to the United States. He was young, a full 26-year-old, ambitious and opinionated. The two and half years that he spent in Britain were eventful years and this book captures that period This dazzlingly original book set in Great Britain of the 1980’s. does not subscribe to any set genre. It is a unique chronicle that weaves the current events of those times with the memoir of a young foreign physician in an alien land to produce a piece of work that is informative, touching at times and entertaining in parts. It captures the despair, the hopes, trepidations and travails of this young man from a financially indigent India of the 1980’s as he charts his way through the land of his colonial masters and the innumerable challenges of this tumultuous period of his life: professional setbacks in the form of certifying exam failures, joblessness as he moves from one part of Britain to another changing cities sometimes every two weeks in search of work; a cataplexic agoraphobia as he tries to come to terms with British racism on the streets. Meanwhile in the background a host of remarkable events are being played out- Lady Diana’s wedding, inter-racial riots and the British-Argentina war over the Falkland Islands. In a span of 224 pages the author captures a host of personal emotions, a medley of diverse encounters and a series of professional challenges to present to the reader an interesting event filled narrative that is painted against the backdrop of tumultuous times in UK.