A POOLE medic and his family have been told they can now stay in the UK by the Home Office after facing deportation.

Paul Ermitano, 31, a heart specialist who came from the Philippines with his wife, Jamila, to work at Poole Hospital, received the news at 10.30 this morning.

Poole Hospital medic and his family given 48 hours to leave the UK

Speaking to the Daily Echo afterwards, he said he was “overwhelmed” by the support his family had received and thanked everyone who had helped. 

“They have extended our stay and granted us permission to remain until June 2020,” he said.

Mr Ermitano, who lives in Longfleet, was told in the summer that the family’s visas had been cancelled following a mix-up over child benefits and the fact that his job - performing heart scans - was said to be off the shortage list.

He and Jamila, who works as a nurse and is due to give birth to their second child in three months’ time, have been unable to work since the process began during the summer and have been selling their possessions in case they were forced out.

The couple were the subject of a campaign by colleagues in the hospital’s heart department.

Dr Ben Neate, who started a petition which gained 6,000 signatures in three days, said he was “really relieved” about the Home Office’s decision and grateful to those who got behind the petition.

“We have an immigration system that’s fair but also fallible. Paul and his family were badly let down by the rules, and it’s nice to know that the Home Office and immigration have listened and common sense has been applied in this case. 

“Poole Hospital has been great and has never let patient care suffer in Paul’s absence, but it’s been a desperate situation and we’re desperate to have him back.”

He added: “I haven’t spoken to Paul since hearing the news but I imagine the first thing he is going to do is buy his furniture back!”

Dr Neate now hopes the government will reconsider putting cardiac physiology back on the national Shortage Occupation List.

Consultant Cardiologist and Clinical Lead for Cardiology Dr John-Paul Carpenter, who works alongside Mr Ermitano, said he had been “actively recruited from the Philippines as there is a severe national shortage of cardiac physiologists for this highly specialised post”.

It is not yet known when Mr Ermitano will be able to return to work. Poole Hospital previously said he fulfilled ‘an important role’ and was a vital part of the team.

On hearing the news his stay has been extended, chief executive Debbie Fleming said: “This is excellent news, we are so glad that this uncertainty is over. Paul is a valuable member of our team and we can’t wait to welcome him back to the hospital.”

Poole Town ward councillor Andy Hadley has also welcomed the decision.

“I’m glad that common sense has prevailed,” he told the Daily Echo.

“There are many dedicated people working for the NHS and other organisations in the area who come from other parts of the world, and they contribute greatly to our community.”