Foreign Physicians Coming to Croatian Hospitals

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70 foreign physicians will get work permits next year.

Croatia plans to employ 40 foreign specialists, 20 doctors without specialisation, five dentists and five dental practitioners – a total of 70 physicians – as part of its international worker quota for 2018, reports Večernji List on November 29, 2017.

The Croatian Chamber of Physicians welcomes such a decision since 550 Croatian doctors have left the country since Croatia became a member of the European Union. They say “there is an objective need for the employment of a large number of doctors.”

“This is supported by the average overtime hours worked by hospital doctors, which far exceed the legally permitted number, and by the number of insured persons per primary healthcare team, which is higher than it should be according to the EU standards. The import of foreign physicians is one of the possible solutions. The Croatian Chamber of Physicians believes this process should be monitored with regards to a kind of quality control of ‘imported’ physicians and targeted to the specific needs of the Croatian healthcare system. Uncontrolled import would endanger the quality of healthcare services for Croatian citizens,” says Trpimir Goluža, president of the Croatian Chamber of Physicians.

It can be assumed that foreign doctors will mostly be hired in areas which are not attractive to their Croatian colleagues. The only problem is where to find doctors who want to work for 1,000 or 1,500 euros a month when they can easily earn two to three times more just several hundred kilometres to the west.

“We want to point out that this is only a quota proposal. In 2017, the quota was used for one physician with specialist training, one dental practitioner with specialist training, and seven general medicine physicians,” according to the Ministry of Health. Also, individual employers have also submitted applications for the approval of work permits.

Similar problems are present in many other sectors, especially in the construction industry, which wants more than 12,000 workers. All this is happening at a time when the Czech Republic is doing everything it can to draw in a hundred thousand workers, Germany needs a million workers, Sweden needs 80,000, and Austria 30,000 just for the winter season.

Zlatko Sirovec, CEO of Tehnika and president of the Association of Construction Industry of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, says they will be happy if they find just half of the needed workers. “Let us hope we find workers in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia since there is no language barrier. Just like Germany was not built by Germans, Croatia will not be built by Croats, but by the workers we can find,” says Sirovec. “But, in the countries which we call the region, there are no more workers. They have all left. Other countries have picked up what they could, and we are late as always,” adds Sirovec.

The construction industry is one of few sectors which have received quotas they demanded. The tourism industry wanted 12,000 work permits, but won just 1,400, while the Agriculture Ministry proposed a quota of 5,000 seasonal workers in agriculture, but got only 500.

The transportation industry has received 600 work permits for truck drivers and 100 for bus drivers. “It would be logical to take people from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia because we can communicate most easily with them, especially when it comes to bus drivers. A smaller number of drivers could also come from Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania if they know the language,” says Marijan Banelli, a transportation industry representative.

Translated from Večernji List.


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