Government outlines rules for Ukrainian doctors, nurses to work in Bulgaria

The official Bulgaria for Ukraine portal has outlined the rules for citizens of Ukraine qualified as doctors or nurses to get the right to practice their profession in Bulgaria, a country that has a serious shortages of nurses and doctors.

They must pass an exam in the Bulgarian language and professional terminology in Bulgarian, as well as pass an exam in line with the provisions of the Health Act for their respective medical profession, the announcement said.

The exam in the Bulgarian language and professional terminology in the Bulgarian language is conducted by the Education Ministry’s Centre for Assessment in Preschool and School Education (COPUO).

There are no legal requirements regarding where and how to learn Bulgarian. It is only necessary for the applicant to pass the exam in the Bulgarian language and professional terminology in Bulgarian language at COPUO.

To take the exam, including the state exams, an application must be submitted to the Health Ministry. There is no fee for the application.

Once that step is completed, the Health Minister issues permission for admission to the exam.

Applicants may take the exam at any university of their choice, and the university has the right to charge a fee for taking the exam.

Applicants who pass acquire the right to practice their medical profession in Bulgaria.

Separately, in Parliament on April 1, MPs gave Health Minister Assena Serbezova a deadline of three months to come up with a concept for overcoming the shortage of doctors and nurses in Bulgaria.

Serbezova has six months to present estimates of the cost of the proposed measures.

In April next year, she must report to Parliament on which measures have been launched, and the results.

Opposition GERB MP and former health minister Kostadin Angelov said that there were two problems.

One was the number of doctors and nurses in Bulgaria who were at or close to retirement age, and the other was the number of young doctors who wanted to work in places other than large university centres.

Angelov said that unless steps were taken, in 10 years – mainly in primary outpatient care – almost all doctors will be of retirement age.

He said that there was a huge number of young doctors who choose to work abroad.

Movement for Rights and Freedoms MP Dzhevdet Chakurov said that there were about 30 000 doctors in Bulgaria, but there was an excess in some specialities and a shortage in others, as well as an uneven distribution by region.

A recent Hospital Index survey found that 73 per cent of Bulgarian hospital directors polled said that they were short of doctors, while 90 per cent reported a shortage of nurses.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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