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01.05.2015 | review article | Ausgabe 9-10/2015

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 9-10/2015

Physicians’ exodus: why medical graduates leave Austria or do not work in clinical practice

Zeitschrift:
Wiener klinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 9-10/2015
Autoren:
Sebastian Scharer, Andreas Freitag
Wichtige Hinweise
Both authors contributed equally to this work.

Summary

Background

Austria has the highest number of medical graduates of all Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in relation to its population size, but over 30 % choose not to pursue a career as physicians in the country.

Objective and research design

This article describes under- and postgraduate medical education in Austria and analyses reasons for the exodus of physicians.

Medical education

In Austria, medicine is a 5- or 6-year degree offered at four public and two private medical schools. Medical graduates have to complete training in general medicine or a speciality to attain a licence to practice. While not compulsory for speciality training, board certification in general medicine has often been regarded as a prerequisite for access to speciality training posts.

Analysis

Unstructured postgraduate training curricula, large amounts of administrative tasks, low basic salaries and long working hours present for incentives for medical graduates to move abroad or to work in a non-clinical setting. The scope of current reforms, such as the establishment of a new medical faculty and the implementation of a common trunk, is possibly insufficient in addressing the issue.

Conclusion

Extensive reforms regarding occupational conditions and the structure of postgraduate medical education are necessary to avoid a further exodus of junior doctors.

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