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Hundreds of Slovak doctors seek jobs abroad

LAST year 363 doctors left Slovakia to seek employment abroad. This is a significant increase compared with 2003 when only 62 doctors opted to leave for work abroad, the SITA news wire reported.

President of the Slovak Chamber of Doctors (SLK) Milan Dragula, said that from the beginning of the year until March 24 the SLK had issued 51 references for doctors leaving to work abroad.

"This shows that the number of doctors to leave for jobs abroad will be at about the same level as last year," said Dragula.

Mostly doctors leave for Great Britain, Ireland, Germany and Sweden. There are no exact statistics on the number of Slovak doctors working in the Czech Republic. The Czech Chamber of Doctors estimates the number at about 1,100.

Most frequently better wages are behind the departure of Slovak doctors. The gross monthly income for a private doctor in Slovakia is estimated at around Sk58,000 (€1,476).

"From this he or she must pay rent for the office, energy and telephone bills and a salary for a nurse," said Dragula.

The chamber disagrees with Health Minister Rudolf Zajac who said that Ukrainian doctors may come to Slovakia to work, if there is a need.

"One should realize that if Ukrainian doctors get a permit to work in Slovakia, it will be valid for the whole European Union (EU)," Dragula pointed out.

This way, nothing would prevent doctors from Ukraine going farther westwards. "This might lead to a situation when work permits from Slovakia will not be accepted in the EU. This would harm Slovak doctors," concluded the SLK president.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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