Czech docs eye up work in Austria

Hundreds of Czech doctors may seek work in neighbouring Austria over a heated row about low salaries.The Czech doctors union announced in an open letter to the government published today (Tues) that 4,000 doctors – one of out four of physicians working at hospitals in the country – would quit if politician decision-makers failed to meet their demands.Medical works council officials have criticised comparably low wage rates for staff working at Czech clinics for years.Experts have said many of the disgruntled doctors were already considering moving to neighbouring Austria where some hospitals are in need of skilled staff.Seeking work abroad within the European Union’s (EU) 27 member states has been made much easier for citizens during the past few years as bureaucratic burdens have been reduced.Right-wing movements in Austria and other countries have in the meantime warned of a “flood” of workers whose migration from Eastern Europe (EE) could slash average income rates in the EU’s Western members.News that Czech doctors are considering applying for work in Austria comes on the back of claims that Austrian hospitals have recruited head hunters to convince professionals abroad to leave their homelands and work in neighbouring Austria.News website reported in September that Austrian clinics were aiming to persuade qualified Czech medics, dissatisfied with salaries and work conditions in their homeland, to come over the border.The head of the Czech Medical Chamber Milan Kubek said hospitals in the country were currently short of around 700 qualified doctors. He warned the situation could “significantly deteriorate” if the government did not back down from carrying out a dramatic cost-cutting initiative next year.Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) Science Minister Beatrix Karl recently suggested reducing the period new doctors spend in clinics from the current three years to just one year. The minister also said thr 24 month professional trainee period could be integrated in their studies at universities.Karl claimed such a reform could help raise the profession’s attractiveness and stop the number of doctors leaving Austria to work in Germany.