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27 Jan 11

Bulgarian Doctors Go Abroad for Better Pay, Union Says

More than 500 Bulgarian doctors left the country to go work abroad in 2010, a figure that is steadily increasing, the Bulgarian Doctors Union says.

Novinite (Sofia News Agency)

The secretary general of the Union, Dimitar Lenkov, announced the data, which was established on the basis of certificates issued for good medical practice, required for working abroad.

Mostly anesthesiologists and surgeons left the Balkan country in 2010, followed by urologists, orthopedists, traumatologists, obstetrician-gynecologists and pediatricians.

According to Lenkov, the number of doctors who left Bulgaria in 2009 was 400, while the number in 2008 was 380. He noted that most of the doctors head to Germany, France, England, North Ireland, Denmark and Sweden.

Data from the Society of Anesthesiologists in Bulgaria showed that over the past several years, the number of specialists in the country has dropped from 1,500 to 600. The monthly salary of an anesthesiologist in Bulgaria is about BGN 700-800 (about €350-400), while in France it is about €6,000.

"How can we keep doctors if they receive €6000 in Europe?" Lenkov asked.

He explained that some regions of Bulgaria, mostly mountainous areas that are difficult to reach, including in northwestern Bulgaria and the Rhodope Mountains, even lack general practitioners.

The data from the Bulgarian Doctors Union showed that the number of nurses in the country is also below the minimum. At present, there are some 30,000 practicing in Bulgaria.

"According to world standards for the quality of medical service, one doctor should work with two nurses. In Bulgaria, one doctor works with one nurse and some doctors even work without nurses," Lenkov said.

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