Scores of Doctors Leaving Croatian Hospitals

Total Croatia News

The exodus could endanger the provision of health services.

In the last five years, about a hundred physicians have left the largest hospitals in Croatia. Although the exact number of doctors who have left Croatia since the country joined the EU is not known, it is now known how many doctors left their jobs at the largest hospitals in the nation, reports on January 29, 2018.

According to the information provided by the hospital managements, the highest number of doctors have left from the Merkur Clinical Hospital in Zagreb – 36, while the lowest number left the Sestre Milosrdnice Clinical Hospital Centre – 13. However, the data are not complete because the largest hospital in Croatia, the Rebro Clinical Hospital Centre, and the Dubrava Clinical Hospital have not reported their numbers.

Merkur’s director Mario Starešinčić states that some of the doctors have gone to other medical institutions in Croatia, while some have moved abroad. Among them are eight internal medicine specialists, five radiologists, four anesthesiologists, three gynecologists, two pediatricians, two otorhinolaryngologists, two urologists, and one specialist in neurology, clinical pharmacology, pathology, ophthalmology and general surgery each. Starešinčić says they do not know how many of them moved abroad.

The situation is similar in Split. “Since January 1, 2013, 16 specialists have left the Split Clinical Hospital Centre, with three doctors going to work abroad, while 13 doctors went to work in other healthcare institutions in Croatia or the private sector. Doctors who have left the hospital are mainly specialized in surgery and anesthesia,” announced the management of the Split hospital.

In the last five years, the Osijek Clinical Hospital Centre has lost 28 doctors: five anesthesiologists, and four cardiologists, four pediatricians, four surgeons, four neurosurgeons, four rehabilitation specialists, and three gastroenterologists.

The Rijeka Clinical Hospital Centre reported that, in the past five years, 25 doctors, most of them anaesthesiologists, went abroad. “The number of doctors leaving has been declining. In 2017, for example, just four doctors left the hospital, which is less than one percent of the total number of specialists in our institution. Actually, the interest of doctors who want to come to our institution is currently higher than the number of those who want to go abroad. Some of the physicians who went abroad returned after one or two years. Going abroad for a certain period changes personal views and contributes to new knowledge and skills acquisition, so we do not see anything wrong about it,” said the Rijeka hospital.

The Sestre Milosrdnice Clinical Hospital Centre does not have official data, but director Mario Zovak says that, in the last five years, 13 doctors went to work abroad. These were experts in the field of neurology, ophthalmology, general surgery, otorhinolaryngology, psychiatry, radiology, radiotherapy, and oncology.

Croatian doctors mostly work in the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Austria, and Sweden. According to the information provided by the Croatian Association of Hospital Physicians (HUBOL), 600 doctors have left Croatia since it entered the EU, and 1,700 asked for documents which would enable them to work abroad. This creates a serious problem for hospitals in smaller towns where there is a significant shortage of physicians. Ada Barić, the HUBOL president, says the most challenging situation is in hospitals in Pakrac, Virovitica, Požega, Vinkovci, and Vukovar.

However, the departure of doctors from large hospital is also very much felt by patients, since the waiting lists are getting longer, the crowds in the waiting rooms are getting bigger and the doctors are overburdened with a large number of overtime hours and worsening conditions, which in turn motivates them to start thinking about joining their colleagues abroad.

Translated from


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