Slovenia's parliament on Monday passed a bill to relax strict working rules for foreign doctors in a bid to make up the lack of qualified medical professionals. The government last month sent to parliament the bill which cuts the qualification time for foreigners from non-EU countries wanting to work as doctors in Slovenia, from as long as two years at present to as little as one month.
The bill was passed with the backing of 66 members of the 90-seat parliament.
AdvertisementThe government last month sent to parliament the bill which cuts the qualification time for foreigners from non-EU countries wanting to work as doctors in Slovenia, from as long as two years at present to as little as one month.
"The lack of doctors is one of the Slovenian health system's biggest problems," Health Minister Dorjan Marusic told lawmakers on Monday.
Figures differ as to how many qualified doctors are lacking in Slovenia. A government estimate puts the number at 500, while the national doctors' council says as many as 2,000 additional doctors are needed.
The health ministry calculates that, based on the present intake of students into domestic medical schools, the current demand for doctors could not be met until 2015 at the earliest.
Foreign doctors or dentists will see the certification procedure cut to between two to 12 months under the new plan, depending on their previous qualifications and experience.
Most foreign doctors in Slovenia come from former Yugoslav states. Under current legislation, they have to pay more than 3,000 euros (4,000 dollars) and sit as many as 11 exams over a period of two years before they are allowed to practice here.
Marusic insisted, however, that the doctors will still have to prove fluency in Slovenian before they are allowed to practice on their own.
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