The complex issue of attracting Doctors to regions of need
The challenges of attracting doctors to rural zones or small towns are indeed considerable. Three major issues have been clearly identified. First, a lack of access to medical resources including clinics and hospitals. The second problem stems from the fact that today doctors prefer to work with other professionals in interdisciplinary. Then,an insufficient educational provisional for children and limited employment opportunities for the spouse. The European continent is particularly affected by this situation. The EU could be facing a shortage of 230,000 doctors in 2020 (Re.European Commission). Italy could loose 34,000 doctors by 2028. In France there are 9% fewer general practitioners than 10 years ago (Re.European Data Journalism Network-EDJN). If we go back to our two examples, the proportion of doctors age 55 and over is 55% in Italy and 47% in France (Re.EDJN). It is therefore obvious that the massive retirement of these doctors will only worsen the situation. It should be pointed out that Romanian hospitals are in crisis because thousands of doctors and nurses have left the country in the past decade. And the lack of doctors in countries such Germany, the UK and Poland is becoming problematic. It must also be stressed that more doctors and nurses move from one country to another than any other highly regulated profession in the EU (Re.European Commission). A statement by the German health Minister reflects the complexity of this issue: « The EU should consider regulating to stop member States from poaching each other’s doctors ». In the meantime, local governments and authorities strengthen their policies to attract doctors from abroad. In truth, and for the time being, the motto is every man for himself!