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Medical doctors in demand on the European labour market
Orthopaedics, anaesthesiology, trauma emergency surgery and gastroenterology… the lack of medical doctors with specialist knowledge seems to be chronic in Sweden. Indeed, the country has been actively recruiting medical personnel with these expertises from other European countries since 1999. To help ease the pain, EURES Sweden has helped to recruit over 700 doctors during this time.
“Before we start recruiting in a country we always ask our EURES colleagues in the Public Employment Service and the national association for doctors for permission. If there is a shortage of medical doctors in a country, recruiting doctors might be politically-sensitive. Each year we try to identify other countries taking part in EURES that have a possible surplus of medical specialists” says Hilal Tercan, EURES Adviser and Project Manager for Medical Recruitment at EURES Sweden.
It started in 1999 when, for the first time in history, Swedish employers in the healthcare sector asked EURES for help to recruit personnel from Finland. Today the recruitment can take place in any other EURES country and are mainly focused on medical specialist. The shortage of specialist doctors in Sweden are much due to the difficulties of anticipating the demand, since it takes five years to become a doctor and additionally five to seven years to become a specialist. “It’s very hard to foresee the need 12 years before it happens and even though Sweden has raised the number of students studying medicine today it will take years before they are specialist, hence EURES has been asked to help out,” explains Hilal.
This year Hilal and her EURES colleagues in Sweden identified Italy as a country where recruitment might be possible. But before they could get under way they had to carry out a “qualification control” to ensure that the education medical doctors receive matches with what is required in Sweden.
The recruited doctors are asked to stay a minimum of three years. Their Swedish employers pays for their language education since speaking Swedish is a preconditions to serve patients. “In the long run the exchange of doctors brings both personal and professional benefits. Professionally we exchange best practices and personally the doctors have learned a new language and culture,” concludes Hilal.