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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Thursday, 25.04.2024, 16:52

Number of doctors will fall drastically in 20 years in Estonia

BC, Tallinn, 24.05.2013.Print version
An especially bleak scenario heralds a fall of the number of doctors in Estonia from 4,500 to 2,500 in 20 years since already now, every 7th doctor working in Estonia is in retirement age while an increasing number of medical school graduates leave Estonia after graduation, LETA/Postimees writes.

Tartu University scientists Raul-Allan Kiivet, Helle Visk and Toomas Asser write in their study on the dynamics in the number of doctors and nurses working in Estonia in 2032, that only with a utopian scenario: if all the 120 graduates of doctor's studies started working in Estonia immediately, and no young doctors left abroad, the number of doctors would not fall drastically.


The reality is however that an average of 15% new doctors won't start working in Estonia. For example in 2011, out of the 107 doctors who graduated, just 66 started working in Estonia. 725 young doctors out if the 981 who had graduated from the department of medicine in 2002-2011, worked in Estonia in April 2012, meaning a loss of over 250 new doctors.


The truth is that not all young doctors would find work in Estonia, 4,500 doctors is sufficient for Estonia, being three doctors per 1,000 people, which is Europe's average. However there are fields were shortage of doctors is higher than in other places. For example a year ago, 54 family doctors had left for work in Finland and 141 had taken a certificate from the Health Board to work abroad, meaning that at least a part of them work part-time in Estonia and part-time in Finland.


The authors of the study say that the acceptance of medical students to university has to be increased by a fourth to preserve the number of doctors at the current level and the exodus of doctors from Estonia should be halved.

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