ALMOST one half of general practitioners and dentists in Slovakia are of retirement age. They do not have successors, and health insurance companies are facing an increasing problem, which is to sign new contracts with doctors in order to keep the minimal health care network, the Sme daily wrote.
There are almost 3,000 dentists in the country, but as much as 57 percent of them are of retirement age or will reach it in the near future. The situation for general practitioners is similar. According to the Health Ministry, out of 2,424 GPs, 54 percent of them are at or near retirement age.
"These alarming numbers will increase," said the head of the Slovak Medical Chamber Milan Dragula. "If the situation does not change, we estimate that after 15 years we will lack 50 percent of general practitioners."
The network of GPs and dentists is not balanced as it is sometimes too dense in large towns and too weak in villages and rural areas. Young doctors, after they graduate from university or at the beginning of their careers, disappear abroad, the daily wrote. The bad post-graduate education system also contributes to the lack of GPs and dentists.
11. Feb 2008 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports