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Migration of health care personnel: Poland

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  1. Average annual salary (all economy) CAPHRI, Department of International Health Migration of health care personnel: Poland Katarzyna CzabanowskaA, Marcin KautschB ADepartment of International Health BInstitute of Public Health, Jagiellonian University, Krakow Background Health workforce mobility was a commonplace in Poland even before accession to the European Union (EU). The phenomenon escalated significantly when Poland joined the EU on 1st May 2004, due to the disappearance of barriers which previously made it difficult for health professionals to seek job placements abroad. Health professional mobility is not so large as to pose a significant threat to the healthcare system in the short-term, however it is a noticeable phenomenon. Objective Our goal was to study Poland’s mobility profile in terms of medical doctors, nurses and dentists leaving or entering the country in the context of the EU accession, its impact and relevance on the health care system and policy interventions aimed at managing health professional mobility. Introduction Migrant health professionals have mainly departed for Western European countries. The number of health professionals who chose Poland as their target country is limited. Economic motivations may prove to be key factors behind in and out migration. Recent years have seen changes in migration patterns. This is mainly a result of a substantial increase in income levels of health professionals in Poland (particularly doctors) – see Figure 1. It does not present a direct threat, athough it contributes to staff shortages in general in the Polish health system. Results Emigration rapidly intensified after accession to the European Union and almost equally rapidly subsided owing to increased salary levels of health professionals in Poland, the beginning of which should be placed in 2007. Most popular destinations for emigration were: the United Kingdom followed by Germany, Ireland and Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Denmark). The migration phenomenon had impact on Polish health care system and staffing shortages were especially observed in the anesthesiology and intensive care as well as emergency medicine specialties. On the whole around 3000 medical doctors registered in EU15 countries. Little is known about the exact number of nurses but this number is most likely to be much lower than that of doctors. Figure 1: Comparison of annual salaries of health care professionals in the public and private sectors in Poland (January 2008), [EURO]. Methods The search of databases related to migration of Polish healthcare personnel was carried out using several searching engines (Google Scholar and Meta search of relevant scientific databases) as well as OECD and EUROSTAT. Furthermore, specific web pages of professional organizations within the EU were searched, including physicians and nurses chambers, and the Polish Ministry of Health whose prominent representatives were interviewed. The professional chambers were also contacted to receive more detailed data. The analysis of the scope of Polish health workforce migration was carried out based on numbers of professional qualification certificates issued by the Chambers of Physicians and Dentists and of Nurses and Midwives. Conclusion The recent migration is not likely to constitute a lasting problem. Since it is a relatively new phenomenon it has not been studied extensively yet. Health professionals return to Poland attracted by increasing salaries and differences in currency exchange rates. Market forces contributing to remuneration increases, rather than well thought-through retention policies encourage those health professionals who are considering emigration to stay at home or encourage emigrants to return. References: Central Statistical Office, Statistical Yearbook of Poland and Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland – 2000-2009), Warsaw 2001-2009. Danielewicz R,, Majcher K, Kowalska E. Country Report – Poland, in: Buchan J., Perfilieva (eds) G., Health Worker Migration in the European Region: Country Case Studies and Policy Implications. Division of Country Support WHO Regional Office for Europe Copenhagen, 2006. Support WHO Regional Office for Europe Copenhagen, 2006.Dumont J-C and Zurn P. Immigrant Health Workers in OECD Countries in the Broader Context of Highly Skilled Migration, in International Migration Outlook, SOPEMI, Paris 2007. García-Pérez M.A, Amaya C., Otero Á. Medical doctors' migration in Europe: an overview of the current situation, BMC Health Services Research 2007, 7:201. This article is available from: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6963/7/201. Ministry of Health, Statistic Bulletins 2004-2008, http://www.csioz.gov.pl/biuletyn.htm, obtained 2009-12-01. Nosowska K., Wdowiak L., Anestezjolodzy w Polsce – zasoby kadrowe.Zdrowie Publiczne 2007;117(2):264–269. OECD HEALTH DATA 2008, Dec 2008. Polish Chamber of Physicians, data sent to authors, 2009 Presented research is a part of FP7- Health Professional Mobility in the European Union Study “Health PROMeTHEUS.” Project number: 223383 Correspondence to:Katarzyna Czabanowska,Department of International HealthEmail-address: kasia.czabanowska, Website: www.inthealth.eu Marcin Kautsch: Institute of Public Health, Jagiellonian University, Krakow Email-address: mxkautsch@wp.pl Department of International HealthT +3143 388 1592 Maastricht UniversityP.O. Box 616Universiteitssingel 40 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands