Nearly 1,000 nurses have left Croatia in the last five years, even though hospitals and clinics are missing ten times as many. Although they say they could cope with getting salaries significantly lower than their counterparts in Western Europe, the main reason driving trained nurses abroad are the poor working conditions.
Their trade association HUMS is now calling for the government to fight the brain drain by urgently changing regulations which discourage employing nurses at hospitals, and are asking for more favourable housing loans. They are also frustrated by issues with recognising training certificates, as well as the notoriously difficult working conditions which regularly include lots of overtime, and the low nurse-per-patient ratio, RTL reported on Thursday.
Around a thousand nurses and medical technicians have left the country over the last five years, and another thousand have prepared the legally required documents needed to emigrate. Meanwhile, the health care system is lacking some 10,000 nurses.
At the moment, there are 39,000 nurses and medical technicians caring for Croatian patients. The country has 499 nurses per 100,000 people, which is some 50 percent less than the EU average. However, there are currently 979 jobless trained nurses registered with the state employment bureau.
“We have now reached a point where nobody bothers applying to nursing job tenders in rural areas. Nurses are increasingly going into other jobs with, better pay and with better working conditions,” head of HUMS, Tanja Lupieri, told RTL.