ZAGREB, Aug 12, 2020 – An average primary care physician in Croatia is in their fifties, some of them are already opting for early retirement and around 160 who still work are older than 65 and can close their practices any time, the Wednesday issue of the Vecernji List daily says.
According to data from the Croatian Medical Chamber, there are 2,215 family doctors in Croatia, but that figure is disputable, says Vikica Krolo, who heads the KOHOM association of family doctors.
“Around 160 active doctors are older than 65, 200 primary care teams do not include a doctor, and around 660 doctors are about to retire,” she says.
The situation with primary gynecology and pediatrics is also unfavourable, the average age of a gynecologist or pediatrician is 54 and 55 respectively, with 30% of active gynecologists being older than 60 and as many as 38% of primary care pediatricians being above that age.
The state has been trying to make up for the lack of young specialists with a specialisation plan that focuses on primary health care in the next five years, Krolo says, but warns that one should provide good work conditions, notably salaries, to attract young doctors to those branches of medicine.
She warns that family doctors opt for early retirement also because they lack motivation.
The administrative part of the job, phone calls, patients’ emails, etc. are a daily routine that will become more demanding in the autumn, while patients will have more difficulty accessing primary health care, KOHOM has warned, noting that in addition to work related to the coronavirus epidemic, tourists and refugees, the health system will also have to deal with flu season in the autumn as well as with new prevention programmes.