More than 1800 doctors have left Bulgaria and found work abroad in the past four years, drawn by the high demand for health care personnel and higher wages in wealthier countries.
This is according to the Bulgarian Medical Association (BMA), quoting figures compiled by EU statistics agency Eurostat.
In 2011, more than 500 doctors left Bulgaria to work abroad. The following year, the figure was 447, in 2013 about 400 doctors left and in 2014 the figure was 540.
Since the beginning of 2015, about 300 highly qualified medical professionals have left Bulgaria, the BMA said.
About 30 per cent of Bulgarian doctors who had sought and found a job in the UK had been appointed to senior management positions, according to the BMA.
The association said that at the end of 2014, the number of practicing physicians in Bulgaria was 28 842, of whom just more than 16 000, about 55 per cent, were women.
There were 4500 general practitioners, making up about 16 per cent of the doctors in Bulgaria, followed by specialists in anaesthesiology and intensive care, more than 1500, paediatricians,1459, obstetrics and gynaecology, 1449, and 1426 surgeons.
The largest proportion of physicians were aged between 45 and 54 years. 10 301, which is 35.7 per cent of all doctors in the country.
About eight per cent of medical practitioners were younger than 35 and 12 per cent were over 65.
Bulgaria had a proportion of 391 professionally active and licensed doctors per 100 000 population in 2012, according to Eurostat figures.
This meant a slight increase in the proportion of medical practitioners compared to 2002, when it was 352 physicians per 100 000 people.
These figures showed Bulgaria ahead of most of its neighbouring countries, such as Romania (239 physicians per 100 000 people), Serbia (309) and Turkey (173). However, the highest proportion was in Greece, 614 to 100 000 people.
(Photo: Paul Barker/sxc.hu)