MORE than 70 people EACH WEEK could be added to the waiting list for echocardiography at Poole Hospital, if the Home Office carries out its threat to deport Fillipino medic Paul Ermitano a doctor has warned.

Consultant Cardiologist and Clinical Lead for Cardiology at Poole Hospital Dr John-Paul Carpenter works alongside Mr Ermitano, who has been told he has to leave the UK with his wife and child tomorrow .

“We actively recruited Paul from the Philippines as there is a severe national shortage of cardiac physiologists for this highly specialised post,” he said. “Paul performs heart scanning (echocardiograms) on a daily basis and we rely on him as part of our expert team. He has gained UK accreditation in echocardiography whilst he has been here and this is no mean feat!

"Without him, up to 70 people each week will be added to a growing waiting list. This includes patients with cancer who would potentially be delayed starting life-saving treatments.”

Mr Ermitano, his pregnant wife, Jamila, who also works as a nurse at Poole, and their baby son were told late last month that they had to leave the UK.

Following a mix-up over child benefit – they claimed it, were then told it was a mistake, and so repaid the money - their visas have not been renewed. The Echo also understands that because the government now deems there to be no employee shortage in Mr Ermitano's speciality he must earn at least £35,000 to gain enough points to stay.

The family, who live in Longfleet, have been unable to work since the process began during the summer and have started selling their possessions in case they are forced out. They are also –ironically and despite Mrs Ermitano’s condition – denied free healthcare on the NHS because of their changed immigration status.

A petition to save the Ermitanos, started by Dr Ben Neate, a Ringwood GP who also works in cardiology alongside Mr Ermitano has now topped 3,000 signatures.

Late on Monday evening the Home Office said they would review the case.

Yesterday the shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, urged ministers to intervene.

“This is a heart breaking example of how Theresa May’s immigration policies have damaged our NHS,” he told the Bournemouth Echo.

“The Government is forcing families out of the country even when they are badly needed working here in our understaffed NHS. Ministers ought to step in and intervene in this case.”

A spokesperson for Poole Hospital said: "Poole Hospital is proud of its record in providing safe high-quality care. As always, we will manage the impact of changes to our workforce so that seriously ill patients will continue to receive swift access to care.”