Slovak healthcare needs thousands of medical workers

Slovak doctors, nurses and midwives are not hesitating in finding better work conditions abroad.

Illustrative Stock PhotoIllustrative Stock Photo (Source: Gabriel Kuchta, Sme)

Martin Novák has been working in Germany for five years now in the field of orthopaedics, traumatology. The Slovak studied in the Czech Republic and then decided to find a job in Germany.

“The main reason why I left abroad was finances, of course,” Novák told The Slovak Spectator, mentioning that Germany still lacks doctors, so it is easier to find a job there even as a fresh graduate and speaking broken German.

Novák’s beginning was not easy. He lived in a car for practically half a year, he was beginner at his job and he did not understand much, since he cannot rely on Latin because German use their own medical vocabulary. However, he coped with everything and remained in Germany, like many Slovak doctors who decide to find a better-paid job and working conditions.

Many Slovak medical students decide similarly to Novák to study abroad, the destination often being the Czech Republic with medical faculties in Prague, Brno and Olomouc. Some students remain there, some return home and others continue further to the West.

Today, hundreds or even thousands Slovak doctors work abroad, as data from the national medical chambers demonstrated. More than 1,230 Slovak doctors work in Germany, and there are 522 Slovak doctors with primary medical qualifications from Slovakia on the UK medical register, of whom 367 hold a licence to practise in the UK and more than 2,250 Slovak doctors work in the Czech Republic.

Slovakia currently lacks 3,338 doctors and 1,020 nurses. If medical staff over the age of 65 is taken into consideration, there is a shortage of 5,515 doctors and 1,700 nurses, as the newest analysis Condition of Medical Staff in Slovakia demonstrated.

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