Bratislava, July 23 (TASR) – The Health Ministry is looking for positive ways to motivate graduates of medical faculties to stay in Slovakia after their studies, stated ministry spokesperson Zuzana Eliasova in response to the Opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party’s proposal that graduates of medicine working abroad long term should have to pay for their studies in Slovakia retroactively.
Eliasova pointed out that the ministry is intensively working on halting the exodus of young doctors abroad via regular talks with the Education Ministry.
“We welcome constructive proposals, but the aforementioned SaS proposal has to be analysed as to whether it’s feasible in terms of the EU’s perspective on the free movement of people,” said Eliasova.
“In addition, our education system at universities doesn’t envisage measures that would limit graduates on the labour market in any way; for example, by obliging them to work in Slovakia after graduation,” added the ministry.
The ministry admitted that the lack of doctors has been a long-term issue in Slovakia, but it’s been gradually introducing systematic measures aimed at increasing the number of doctors. These include, for instance, boosting the number of students admitted into medicine faculties as of September, simplifying the process of hiring doctors and nurses from non-EU countries as well as the so-called resident programme, which helps to send lacking specialists to deserted Slovak regions.
Earlier on Monday SaS MP Jana Ciganikova said at a press conference that as so many young doctors have been leaving Slovakia, it’s time to think about introducing a virtual account for studying medicine in the country. SaS wants graduates of medicine to set up a virtual account, the value of which would be comparable to the cost of their studies. If students of medicine left Slovakia after their studies to work abroad and didn’t return within five years, their virtual account will be activated and they would have to pay for their studies.