Medical workforce migration in Europe – Is it really a problem?

Health Brain Drain

Vytenis Andriukaitis, Member of the EC in charge of Health and Food Safety. © European Union , 2018 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Lukasz Kobus.

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mr Rytis Trojanas, a 3rd year medical student at Vilnius University, Lithuania. Mr Trojanas is the Secretary General at Lithuanian Medical Students’ Association. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Imagine post-Soviet Lithuania. Imagine a wild jungle with no laws and authorities. After 50 years behind the Iron curtain and constant oppression we became independent. Western world opened his arms and hugged us so hard that we couldn’t let go. Over 28 years of freedom, more than a million Lithuanians left the country to pursue their dreams abroad.

Medical professionals are not an exception. Higher income, qualitative education, balanced workload – those are only few reasons for a young, perspective physician to choose emigration over mother nation.

“Money can’t buy happiness, but it will certainly get you a better class of memories.” – Ronald Reagan. We can talk about how wealth should not be our first or second priority in life but usually it is a factor. A person in his mid 20’s desires to fulfill his dreams – whether it is to buy a brand new Ferrari whether it is to travel all over the globe – you need finances for that. So, when the Western Europe offers triple, even quadruple salary than Eastern Europe we face quite a straightforward choice.

Furthermore, the differences between residencies in East and West are so enormous, the only mutual point they share is the name. The main struggle for Lithuanians is that our hospitals and Universities still do not implement competency based medical education. Therefore, residents become hostages of time – during a limited period of time they have to master numerous professional skills because if they won’t there will be no second chance.

In addition, residents have the same status as students in the hospital. In other words, residents cannot make a decision by themselves or sign authorized papers. Consequently, once you become a doctor you face lack of experience of decision making which can end in a severe mistake or even death.

Also, it’s worth a mention that our healthcare system still has major numbers of corruption and nepotism. We face bribing for a faster inspection or operation, we see politicians or Party members getting treatment in extraordinary conditions, we witness professors preferring to teach relatives or their colleagues relatives over an average student. A vast part of doctors and students cannot tolerate a system like that, hence they choose to abandon the system.

To sum up, obviously, we encounter a lot of problems in our healthcare system. Do they become an excuse to leave native country? Absolutely. Is the emigration the only way out? Absolutely not. We can make huge changes which are necessary to maybe flip the direction of migration. We can endeavor so heavily that after 10 years, we had to write articles on medical workforce migration from the West to the East.

And to answer my beginning thesis, I believe that medical workforce migration is not a problem per se. Huge gaps between the healthcare systems is the problem we should focus on.

About the author

Mr Rytis Trojanas is a 3rd year medical student at Vilnius University, Lithuania. Mr. Trojanas is the Secretary General at Lithuanian Medical Students’ Association. He has interest in medical education, anticorruption, effective healthcare management and other relevant medical issues. Rytis actively engages in activities extending his competence towards these topics as well as representing students’ voice on a national level.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Five cities short-listed to become the European Youth Capital 2017

Dangers of poor quality health care revealed ‘in all countries’: WHO report

Writing a new story in gender inequalities: women gaining space and respect in medicine

Africa cannot afford to lose doctors to COVID-19

UN aid teams scramble to reach ‘most remote places’ cut off by Cyclone Kenneth in Mozambique

Climate change hits the poor hardest. Mozambique’s cyclones prove it

World’s first space sustainability rating launched

These are the refugee athletes at the Tokyo Olympics

Italy should boost spending and strengthen cooperation and integration of employment services to help more people into work

How AI can inspire doctors to be more inventive

The US banks drive the developing world to a catastrophe

COVID-19 outbreak: Commission supports repatriation of EU citizens from cruise ship in Japan

Commission welcomes European Parliament adoption of EU4Health programme

WHO and IFMSA as transcendent pillars for world improvement

vSudan: UN chief calls for ‘positive momentum’ as civilian rule talks stall between military and opposition

Nokia wins Commission’s approval for Alcatel-Lucent acquisition: a new way for antitrust cases?

Global health challenges require global medical students

Unlock the value proposition for Connected Insurance

We need to bridge the education gap for refugees, says new UNHCR report 

Greece’s future solely in the hands of Tsipras; he can direct the poor country any way he likes

Brexit: UK business fear of a no-deal scenario preparing for the worst

Further reforms in France can drive growth, improve public finances and boost social cohesion

These are the next big products in consumer technology

How female founders and investors are shaking up venture capital

Top officials say UN will support Bahamas’ rescue, relief efforts as Hurricane Dorian churns in Atlantic

Doctors are humans too: the benefits of embracing your mental status

6 charts that show how Japan’s economy stacks up as it enters a new era

Parliament to allow COVID-19 vaccines to be developed more quickly

What to know about the EU’s facial recognition regulation – and how to comply

Not enough resettlement solutions for refugees worldwide, says UN

3 reasons why AI won’t replace human translators… yet

Here’s how data can help us fix the climate

UN rights expert calls for end to ‘purgatory’ of ‘international inaction’ facing Myanmar’s remaining Rohingya

The European Parliament rewrites the EU budget in a bright day for the Union

Further reforms will move Slovakia toward a more innovative and inclusive society

Eurozone: Negative statistics bring deflation and recession closer

The fires in the Brazilian amazon rainforest may be related to the increase in the number of hospitalizations for respiratory complications in the state of PARÁ

Threatened by rising sea levels, the Maldives is building a floating city

Joint UN-Red Cross appeal to end rising sexual violence as a weapon of war

A few, or rather two, trade and economic alliances may rule our brave new world

This start-up is putting commercial air conditioning on ice to cool global warming

How to future-proof India’s economy

Fighting cybercrime – what happens to the law when the law cannot be enforced?

Here’s how drone delivery will change the face of global logistics

The future of global health is female

Water inequality used to be a developing world problem only. Not any more

Climate experts pledge to scale up high-altitude fight against mountain melt

Six steps that can help us to tackle homelessness

South Korea: A cherished partner for the EU

Future Healthworker’s role in 2030 Agenda

Ahead of State of the Union the European Youth Forum highlights lack of action on youth employment

Hackers can use public USB chargers to steal personal data. Here’s what you need to know about ‘juice jacking’

Somalia: UN congratulates Puntland region’s newly-elected President

The Role of Medical Workers in Fighting Covid-19 in Indonesia             

Digital technology helped create the skills gap. Here’s how it can help close it

What happens after you recover from coronavirus? 5 questions answered

Chart of the day: When do young Europeans leave home?

Refund for cancelled travel during the pandemic: Commission decides to refer SLOVAKIA to the Court of Justice

What slums can teach us about building the cities of the future

DR Congo: Ebola claims over 1,000 lives, Guterres commits ‘whole’ UN system, to help ‘end the outbreak’

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s