Slovakia lacks general practitioners, particularly in the countryside

If the situation doesn’t improve, 200 ageing doctors will leave their posts annually.

Illustrative stock photo. Illustrative stock photo. (Source: Unsplash)

Slovakia is suffering a shortage of first-contact doctors. The country is short of 1,100 doctors, a scarcity that is particularly impacting Slovakia’s countryside.

If the situation does not improve, this shortage of doctors will increase by 200 every year, according to IstroAnalytica, a non-governmental institute focusing on Central Europe.

The organisation recommends mapping and recording whitespaces where there is a lack of general clinics.

“It is also important to financially support the increase of educational capacities of medical faculties in universities, monetarily reward first-contact clinics for operating in areas where they would not be able to survive purely off of revenue, and, with the help of the renewal fund, support the creation of new clinics in the provinces,” said Peter Helexa, the Executive Director of IstroAnalytica.

The measures for the four coming years represent less than 3 percent of the total financial allocation of Slovakia’s recovery plan to be financed from the Next Generation EU fund.

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Every single paediatrician in Slovakia is currently responsible for an average of 1,426 residents up to the age of 26. General practitioners are each responsible for 1,767 adult residents above the age of 26 on average. According to IstroAnalytica, the aim for Slovakia should be to attain 1,200 residents of up to 26 years of age per paediatrician and 1,600 residents above the age of 26 per general practitioner.

This is why they advise to start providing clinics in the identified whitespaces on the map of Slovakia this year as a part of the recovery plan.

IstroAnalytica claims that the deficit of general practitioners for clinical care is caused by the exodus of doctors abroad, inadequate financial rewards for general practitioners at clinics and the difficulty of opening a new outpatient clinic.

The shortage of general practitioners is a long-term problem, the previous plans of the Health Ministry failing to bring much relief.

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