Turkey seeks medical staff from abroad

ANKARA – Turkey is aiming to increase the number of doctors by 80 thousand in the next ten years and is looking to Greece to fill its shortfall said Irfan Sencan, Health Ministry Deputy Undersecretary.

Turkey is offering Greek doctors to come and finish their training;  “we want these doctors to come to Ege University, 9 Eylul or Istanbul University to receive specialized training” said Sencan. He claimed Greece has a surplus of doctors while they need specialized training.

However, the Turkish Medical association disagrees with the government approach. They say that the problem with the Turkish health service is not the lack of doctors, it is the fact that people with minor problems are clogging the hospitals when they should be going to their family physicians, said Bayazit Ilhan, chairman of the Turkish Medical association.

"We have offered the Heath Ministry to make a study of how many doctors and in what specialities are needed, but they have not got back to us yet" said Ilhan who added that starting the discussion by assuming that thousands of doctors are needed is not very helpful. 

"It is not logical that people go to hospitals and training hospitals for every minor health problem," said Ilhan.

Ilhan added that people "do not trust their family doctor, they believe they need to see a specialist. This view is reinforced by politicians who say that they can go to the hospitals when they should be encouraged to go to family doctors instead".

Sencan said that Turkey has currently 120,000 doctors, but aims this number to be raised to 200,000 by 2023, the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic foundation, .

Greece and many other European Union member states are hit by a severe economic crisis since 2010, which has caused the reduction of wages and the raise of unemployment.

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