The wave of migration that began in 2010 has now grown into a tsunami that leads day by day more and more doctors into fleeing Greece in hope of finding a job or complete their training/speciality elsewhere. The favored choices are northern European countries or the United Arab Emirates.
The Medical Association of Athens (ISA) alone has witnessed 4,000 doctors leaving Greece within the past three years. More particularly, 62.5% of the migrated doctors are skilled professionals who have completed their education and specialty and are desperately looking for employment. While the National Healthcare Service (ESY) and the private sector seem unable to absorb the new qualified doctors due to the ongoing crisis, doctors are let with very few career choices to make.
ISA official data reveal the extent of the phenomenon in numbers: in 2010 835 doctors (318 unskilled and 517 skilled) left the ISA, while in 2011 1,280 doctors followed their colleagues example. In 2012, another 1,808 doctors left the Association (642 unskilled and 1,166 skilled). From 2007 to 2009, some 1,635 doctors in total have left the biggest medical association of the country.
“Doctors in Greece nowadays face actually two options: unemployment or migration. The financial crisis and the lack of planning the education of the required medical staff has led to this dead end. In the past, Greek doctors, would go abroad to further educate themselves. Now they only do this to earn a living. And they are leaving from a country where health levels significantly drop with each passing day,” said ISA President George Patoulis, according to a Proto Thema report.
Germany tops the training doctors’ preference list, followed by France, the UK and Scandinavian countries, while skilled doctors including gastroenterologists, pediatricians, surgeons and dentists move to Germany and the United Arab Emirates.