(Greece) – According to a recent report published in the Kathimerini newspaper, Greece is currently experiencing a surplus of around 20,000 doctors and has a total of 70,000 in the population. Over the past twenty years or so, Greece has experienced a high percentage of doctors in relation to the rest of the population. Many of the doctors in the country are actually unemployed or getting paid a lot less than they should be getting paid considering their profession. The number of those who are either unemployed or underemployed is currently around 28%.
Not only that, but many of the doctors who were educated in Greece are now working abroad since there aren’t enough positions in the country for them all. In total, there are about 17.500 doctors working in other countries. In fact, it isn’t just doctors who have left Greece to work in other countries. Endeavor Greece recently found that Greek professionals working abroad are costing the country about 50 billion euros in lost revenue. Greek also spent around 8 billion euros to educate those professionals who have decided to work elsewhere.
Although there is a surplus of doctors, the economic situation in Greece has actually created a shortage of doctors and other health professionals. There are a total of 6000 spots in the country’s public hospitals that are currently empty. Part of the problem is that the ratio between general practitioners and specialized doctors is unbalanced. There are far more specialists than there are generalists. Based on European averages, there are around 3800 general practitioners and 8140 specialists. Many of the vacant positions are for general practitioners. For instance, currently there are 4500 laboratory physicians in Greece but there is really only a need within the country for about 600. The period between 2000 and 2008 is largely responsible for this increase in doctors but the numbers have stabilized in recent years.