News | MALnS

Answer of MALnS to the Minister of Health of the Slovak Republic

Dear Minister,

Thank you very much for your response to our offer to help foreign doctors in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

We positively perceive that the Ministry of Health is trying to solve the shortage of medical personnel in Slovakia also by making available the Temporary Professional Internship for foreign doctors.

However, allow us to respond to the facts you present in your response to our open letter. You state in it that the Institute of Temporary Professional Internship, which you adopted by amending Act 578/2004 on health care providers, health workers, state organizations, should lead to an increase in the success rate of supplementary examinations. However, we are afraid that the way the law is approved, it will not be helpful for them.

This is mainly due to the fact that the Temporary Professional Internship, as defined in the aforementioned amendment, is limited exclusively to the time of crisis due to the COVID-19 disease. The start and end of a crisis situation is not defined in the law, we assume that it is given for the period of the state of emergency. It ended in Slovakia on June 13, 2020. We have no information that any medical facility would use the possibility of this Temporary Professional Internship.

As you write, it was an effort to help, at least partially, to ensure that EU rights were not violated. Here we point out, for example, the solution to a similar situation in the Czech Republic, where doctors from third countries can work for three months after the end of the state of emergency. If the state of emergency lasted longer than half a year, the period would be extended even for another six months from its end. Similar rules also apply there to other medical personnel.

You state that the recognition of the professional qualifications of five key health professions: doctor, dentist, pharmacist, nurse and midwife is regulated in the Slovak Republic by Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and Council on the recognition of professional qualifications, and this directive was not limited by the pandemic.

However, the fact is that the mentioned directive of the European Parliament and the Council is transposed more strictly in Slovakia than in neighboring countries. Again, we can point to neighboring countries where, for example, they recognize the education of a doctor-pediatrician from Ukraine, Russia, and the like. Slovakia does not recognize their education, since they specialize from the beginning, similar to what was the case in our country before the partition of Czechoslovakia.

The situation would be helped - as it was originally proposed in the hospital stratification proposal - if a permanent Institute of Temporary Professional Internship were established.

However, the amendment that introduces the Professional Internship during the pandemic only applies to doctors who can perform it in institutional care facilities. It does not say anything about the possibility of nurses, of which there is a shortage of up to 15,000 in Slovakia.

If it were possible, we would like to present our point of view and solutions to the problem of the lack of medical personnel in Slovakia at a personal meeting with the possibility of integrating doctors from third countries into the Slovak health system.

Representatives of the MALnS Board of Directors