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Every other doctor in Sweden from abroad

Published: 30 Aug 2009 09:08 GMT+02:00

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the brain drain of doctors to rich countries is threatening to cause the collapse of healthcare systems in poor countries.

“It is immoral that a rich country like Sweden is profiting from these poor countries,” Martin Stjernquist, programme director of the medical school at Lund University, told Sydsvenskan newspaper.

In 2007, 1,400 foreign physicians received medical licenses in Sweden – the equivalent of 60 percent of all new licenses granted that year, Sydsvenskan reports.

At the same time that there is a major shortage of doctors in poor countries, many countries such as France and the UK are recruiting healthcare workers from their former colonies.

“It’s a form of neo-colonialism,” Eva Nilsson Bågenholm, head of the Swedish Medical Association (Sveriges läkarförbund), said.

Many Swedes also choose to study medicine abroad. Every third Swedish medical student studies abroad, Yosef Tyson, head of the Swedish Medical Students Union (Medicine studerandes förbund), told Sydsvenskan.

Many Swedes attend medical school in Denmark, which has led Helge Sander, Danish Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, to petition Sweden to increase its number of study places.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

10:03 August 30, 2009 by peropaco
Maybe if Sweden would increase the salary it pays its doctors it would encourage more Swedes to study medicine. A Swedes general practitioner makes around 35 to SEK per month while in France it is around 50K per month.
10:17 August 30, 2009 by crocadoodledoo
on the lines of peropaco..

the payscales of different occupations in sweden is ridiculous. how much ever it may boast of an equal society where more or less every one is on the same level, it's hard to get young natives motivated to take up the teaching profession for instance or study medicine, engineering etc if barbers, plumbers and electricians make more money than the former.
10:56 August 30, 2009 by skane refugee
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1567887/Average-salary-for-a-GP-leaps-to-110000.html

According to the above article from 2007 ... UK GPs earn an average of SEK110K per month in a lower tax regime than either Sweden or France ...

... even adding back 50% for hidden social security costs in Sweden to the 35K quoted above you only get to SEK50K GP salary per month like France ... surely these figures are far too low?!?
11:24 August 30, 2009 by SaltWater
Give me a break! I completely agree with the Swedish Doctors salary compared to other jobs, people should do what they like or are best on, not because they earn more!!!!
13:40 August 30, 2009 by Beynch
A story last week from Karlskrona told of a doctor who, instead of removing an appendix, removed an ovary. Wonder if there is a connection?
14:32 August 30, 2009 by Leprehcaun
That explains a lot. Is it at all necessary to do a study to see which group it is that makes an unusual high number of malpractices compared to the other one? Hehe.. this s actually quite disturbing.. We have to make it harder to get a medical license.
17:49 August 30, 2009 by glamelixir
100% agree with Saltwater.

And also agree on Leprehcaun idea of making it harder to get medical licence.

Can't believe Swedes look at me skeptically for being a foreign Public relationist with 4 languages and 10 years experience while they give medical licences as if it was candy.
18:08 August 30, 2009 by Kaethar
How is this immoral? It's immoral to go "recruiting" in former colonies, but how is it immoral for Swedes to give licenses to migrant workers when we have a shortage of doctors?
18:55 August 30, 2009 by browneyes10
@ Kaethar. I agree with you.

@ Leprehcaun. I do not know why you always try to be in controversial issues by saying ''which group''. May be due to some complex.

Well I think and what I heard from other professional people, most of the foreign doctors in Sweden are doing their job very good and accurately...so...what is your point ?

In general, I would like to say that WHY NOT IF, foreign doctors are getting medical license after fulfilling all necessary requirements. Than why not they should be practiced here? Any good reason? Every body has the right to work in any part on this earth unless and until there are exactly some exceptions.

So swedish government must not be afraid of getting foreign doctors and as far as their capacity and professionalism is concerned, just look out with honesty that who are making more mistakes; a swedish doctor or a foreign doctor ?
19:56 August 30, 2009 by insect
I dont believe people are actually questioning which doctors are making mistakes.

Honestly!! Wasnt it just a few months ago when there was uproar over the fact that Swedish doctors had made serious mistakes in the UK?

The only solution here is trying to sell Swedes the idea that they need to continue on to the University. Most seem to believe that education stops at high school and there lies the problem of shortage.
20:14 August 30, 2009 by Leprehcaun
@ browneyes10

I'm not sure where to start..

I am sure there are many very good foreign doctors here but I also know that there are bad ones. We know a couple of people (who ironically aren't Swedish) who has told us about some more or less moderate malpractices made by foreign doctors and something even more common is hearing that they were rude, neither of which I have ever experienced but then again, I have only had Swedish doctors. Considering that and our flawed migration system, everything about it, makes me assume things. For one that the requirements they need to reach aren't impressively high, just like all other requirements that has anything to do with migration (and it is also logical that this can be true. One possibility is ofc that I'm assuming wrongly but another one is that if the requirements were as high (and I am not saying that they aren't just that they might not be, remember that I'm talking about a possibility) as they are for natives we would have a much larger unemployment rate among immigrants than what we currently have and that would be embarrassing for the government).

So naturally they pass the requirements but just what are those requirements? It isn't impossible that someone who fills the requirements for a certain job is actually qualified in reality if you get my drift.

What's even worse is that I've heard about really good foreign doctors (and other good immigrants) who weren't allowed to stay here. (Conspiracy theory -->) I think the migration board just throws out as many immigrants they can to prove that they aren't useless (they are though, as I'm sure everyone here already knows) no matter if they have to throw out people that we want to stay (don't misunderstand that sentence. I did NOT say that all immigrants in Sweden are unwanted while everyone they send home are wanted, just that too many of those they send home are people we want to stay and too many of those that stays are people we don't want here).

I don't try to be in controversial issues specifically, I try to join or start all slightly difficult discussions unless I don't know where I stand or if it for some reason is useless or unnecessary to say anything and some of those discussion happen to be controversial.
03:26 August 31, 2009 by NJGirl
If this is true indeed, that every other doctor in Sweden was trained abroad, then the Swedish government should be responsible enough to protect their citizens and somehow objectively test all these foreign doctors knowledge and skills. Correct me if I am wrong, but as far as i know the only requirements are: a medical diploma and 5 years of practicing medicine. One does not even have to speak svenska to work as a doctor. Compare these with requirements to work as a doctor in USA and you see my point . I am certain that probably most of foreign doctors are competent but the current system also allows for influx of incompetent doctors as well, which of course has potential for deadly ramifications.
05:41 August 31, 2009 by Omidn
Listen guys, it is not easy to get a licence to practice medicine for foreign MDs in Sweden. They have to show and prove their qualifications and of course pass the Swedish language skills for MDs. Believe me or not, if it was a foreign Dr misdiagnosing any patience in Sweden then they will suspend the licence on the spot and discipline the individual accordingly. The recent case of medical error belongs to Swedish Drs. Overall the medical training here in Sweden is under BIG question mark!!!!!!!!
08:50 August 31, 2009 by farnoxo
As insect points out, maybe we should not diss the foreign doctors because some Swedish doctors don't seem to be making such a good name for themselves (particularly in the UK) - see:

http://www.thelocal.se/19630/20090524/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/5373156/Dozens-of-patients-left-to-repeat-surgery-after-botched-work-by-Swedish-doctors.html

Maybe the ridiculous wages doctors get paid in the UK simply went to their heads:-)

Maybe the wrong people are becoming doctors in first world countries? The extremely high academic grades needed to enter med school could mean that we are ending up with doctors who are extremely brainy but with little patient empathy. Having studied with a lot of doctors at university I can say (perhaps contraversially) that the academic component of university medicine is not particularly intellectually challenging (just a lot of rote learning) - so maybe entry to med school could be more based on aptitude than pure academic ability?
17:45 August 31, 2009 by Nina_
I find this discussion quite funny. First of all, in most countries (rich and poor) it is very difficult to join a medical school. Only students who have very high grades can join public and private medical schools. So only to get a medical degree is already a difficult task. Not to mention that when a doctor moves abroad to work, they have to go through a series of tests to make sure that they are capable. So leave the foreign doctors alone.

I also find it funny that so many people on this site are foreign but at the same time hate immigrants of all kinds: doctors, refugees, muslims, etc. You are unaware that what is really important is that we are all people, we all have feelings and problems, and all of us can be useful to society, but some of us need help.

As for myself, I moved to Sweden when I was 19, I have a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, I speak 5 languages, and I was brought up with financial security by highly educated parents; however, I don't go around judging people on their social class, cultural background, sexual orientation, level of education, or colour of their skin. We are all people and everyone deserves a chance and to be treated with respect.
23:35 August 31, 2009 by anduthinh
Neo-colonialism? Perhaps...

Immoral? Highly unlikely (Sweden does not coerce foreign doctors to come)
11:14 September 1, 2009 by Heybaberiba
Neo- colonialism... yeah. Maybe Sweden should start charging foreign students for education to keep them away as well? (Yes, I'm sarcastic)

Regarding the state of Swedish medical training, all I know is from personal experience since my husband studies medicine right now. He have attended at classes in 2 other countries when he's had the chance to get an outside perspective. So far, he has not complained about the standard. But the person sporting the "big questionmark" about Swedish medical training could perhaps link some of his/her information about that?
19:50 September 11, 2009 by honorable
2 300 medical licences per year in Sweden! I think there are only 800 medical licences per year in Quebec ( 7,5 million people). No wonder waiting listes are shorter in Sweden!

Meanwhile, Quebec is, by that standard, an "anticolonialism" paradise. Despite a much greater proportion of immigrants than in Sweden, only 10-15 % of licences are given to foreing trained doctors here.
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