NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

GO WEST, HERR DOKTOR

June 28, 2006

Germany's well-trained but frustrated young doctors are leaving the country for higher pay in ever greater numbers, leaving some hospitals struggling to fill positions.

More than 12,500 German doctors are working abroad already, and 2,300 left the country in 2005 alone, according to the doctors' association, the Marburger Bund.  The Netherlands, Britain, United States, Australia, Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries are among the top destinations.

Consequently:

  • There are more than 5,000 jobs available at hospitals due to the number of people who have left, according to Michael Helmkamp, a spokesman for the Marburger Bund. Moreover, clinics all over Germany are facing shortages and many hospitals cannot provide their former standard of health care anymore.
  • A spokeswoman for the federal Health Ministry said that only some regions of Germany are struggling with a shortage of doctors while cities like Berlin are in fact facing a surplus.
  • At the University Hospital in Duesseldorf, dozens of doctors have left for better jobs abroad. The situation is particularly dramatic at the anesthesia department where 17 out of 80 doctors have quit their jobs within the last year.

Low salaries are one of the main reasons German doctors are leaving.  An anesthesiologist making $2,900 a month after taxes in Duesseldorf can earn $8,150 after deductions and work fewer hours at the University Hospital in Amsterdam.

But it is not just about the money.  Many express frustration with working conditions and career prospects.

Source: Kirsten Grieshaber, "Young German Doctors Leaving the Country," Associated Press, Jun 23, 2006.

 

Browse more articles on Health Issues