Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)
LIBYAN DOCTORS TRAINED BY NHS; MINISTERS STRUCK DEAL BEFORE . LOCKERBIE BOMBER WAS SET FREE; ROW OVER BRITAIN'S RELATIONS . WITH GADDAFI REGIME INTENSIFIES; EXCLUSIVE; Deal to Train Libyan Doctors Is 'Strategy of Appeasement'
Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor
Libyan doctors will be trained by the nHS in a deal agreed by Cabinet ministers with Colonel Gaddafi's regime before the Lockerbie bomber was released, the Standard reveals today.
Health Secretary andy burnham flew to Tripoli in June where he met his Libyan counterpart and discussed collaboration between the countries.
Memorandums of understanding between the nHS and Libya were signed by Mr burnham's predecessor alan Johnson in Geneva last May.
Mr burnham's trip was the second to Libya by a health minister in the past year. Dawn Primarolo, now the Children's Minister, travelled there in november. The Health Secretary's spokesman said the main reason for his trip in June was to press the Libyan government to locate a missing child, nadia Fawzi, snatched during a custody dispute. He part-funded the trip himself.
but he was accompanied by Helen McKenna, the head of DH international, which co-ordinates nHS policy overseas, for the official business with Libya's health minister Mohamed Hijazi.
DH international said they met "to discuss Libya's health agenda and areas for collaboration. The Libyan ministry of health is keen to make arrangements for doctors to train in the UK".
The health agreements were struck over the same period that the Government has been accused of trying to please Colonel Gaddafi. at the same time oil and trade deals were being discussed by other ministers and Libya was demanding the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdulbaset Ali alMegrahi, who was freed last month.
Under the deal, Libyan medical staff will now be given a year's instruction in Britain, beginning this year. Other forms of co-operation will include a link between Moorfields Eye Hospital and the main eye hospital in Tripoli .
The deal also includes collaboration on bone marrow transplants and the development of primary care. Among agreements are training opportunities in the UK for Libyan medical staff in areas such as intensive care, anaesthet-icand endoscopy. Specialist training with the Royal Colleges will be given in areas including surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology.
A Health Department spokesman said: "Co-operation with other countries is standard and sensible practice. …