Four hundred Bulgarian doctors have left the country to work abroad since the beginning of 2014, pursuing vastly higher salaries and better professional opportunities.
This is according to Dr Dimitar Lenkov of the Bulgarian Medical Association, who added that in 2013, 600 doctors quit Bulgaria.
For Bulgarian doctors, the main destination is Germany, which they prefer not only because of the higher salaries but also because of the attractive conditions for specialisation.
Next in line are the United Kingdom and France. The example was given of a clinic in London which at the moment was looking for physicians. Candidates were not required to be specialists, but needed only to have two years’ experience, qualification as GPs and to speak English.
In the UK, doctors were earning about 60 000 to 70 000 pounds sterling (about 75 000 to 87 500 euro) a year, while they were given 5000 pounds towards moving and accommodation costs.
In Bulgaria, GPs with lists of 2000 patients, after paying their nurses, rent and utility bills monthly, had less than 2000 leva (about 1022 euro) left.
According to Lenkov, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia were also very interested in Bulgarian doctors because they were well-trained and kept up to date on developments in medicine. Further, the young doctors were fluent in several languages.
In the UAE, the starting salary was 9200 euro. The doctors were given free airline tickets for their families, and also covered were expenses on transport, accommodation and children’s education.