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Medical care for 70 euros per month for the whole world, but we do not need doctors from there

Health care is the main area that should not only be accessible, but also so as not to drive citizens (patients and doctors) abroad in search of the best. We cannot allow the state of affairs in which the health service is now. By this I mean funding, lack of staff, the departure of Slovak doctors abroad, as well as the political struggle for the introduction of important changes. However, it has already been approved that from October 2020 foreigners will be able to use the Slovak public health insurance system for 70 euros per month, but we do not accept changes that could attract well-educated foreigners from abroad, for example, doctors whom we so desperately need. I would like someone to explain to me the reasons why we are doing the opposite again. But this is rather a rhetorical question.

Change in the Commercial Code and possible impact on the health sector

From October 2020, a change in the Commercial Code comes into force, which, among other things, allows foreigners from third countries to register trade without the need for a temporary residence permit in Slovakia. This means that a foreigner from any country can register trade in less than a week, pay the minimum amount of fees, for 2020 it is 70.91 euros, and use the Slovak state health insurance system from the first day of registration in the trade register without restrictions. So, foreigners with a visa-free regime, for example, from Ukraine or Serbia, do not even need a visa to come for medical care, they can come for a passport if necessary. I can imagine how citizens, for example, from western Ukraine, can take advantage of such a cheap offer of treatment in better conditions than in their homeland. In addition, it is also a great opportunity to legally "work" in the specialty, not fulfilling the conditions of regulation of the labor market of foreigners coming to Slovakia. Of course, these will be blue-collar professions that do not require confirmation of qualification.

In January 2019, an amendment to the Health Insurance Law adopted the opposite illogical change when foreign directors of Slovak companies ceased to be persons entitled to health insurance in Slovakia. So now we have a situation where the managing director with a remuneration of 2,000 euros per month, living in Slovakia, cannot pay medical fees from this amount and be an insured person, but an individual entrepreneur who pays only 70 euros per month and is not even required to live in Slovakia, has access to health care in Slovakia since 1 October 2020.

On unapproved temporary professional internship for foreign doctors

As part of the non-vote on stratification of hospitals, a proposal to introduce temporary professional internships for foreign doctors was not approved, which would allow dozens and hundreds of experienced doctors to quickly enter the system, which we so desperately need. This is from January 2020. This would be a great opportunity for doctors who already live in Slovakia, speak Slovak, but are not engaged in medicine, but in other professions. There are many such cases. Last time I found out that, for example, a cardiologist with whom I study in language courses came from abroad, she would like to work as a doctor, but she cannot, so now she works in a real estate agency in Bratislava. The reason is that since 2016 a professional exam has been introduced to recognize medical qualifications, which by its poor performance made it impossible for foreign doctors to enter the system. Since its introduction, only 65 foreign doctors have come to us, and thousands are absent.

About dentists

There are not enough dentists in Slovakia. Moreover, they are aging. Now, out of 3,200 dentists, more than half are over 60 years old and another 15% are of retirement age. At the same time, only about 100 dentists graduate from the university annually in Slovakia, since universities lack money, for example, for dental chairs and other necessary equipment, so they prefer foreign students who study in English and pay about 12,000 euros per year. In Banska Bystrica, Žilina, Nitra and other counties, a subsidy scheme was recently launched to attract dentists to some cities, as they lack them. We could solve this problem at least partially with the help of foreign dentists, but we do not want to let them to Slovakia, even if they have a wide specialization and practical skills.

The Slovak Chamber of Dentists, based on my questions, clearly stated: "our experience so far and comparing the content of training programs that do not meet EU requirements or our requirements." This is a very interesting statement, since the comparison of curricula is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic, and the problem of recognizing education, that is, the difference in the comparison of curricula, does not arise in the Ministry. The problem arises in the exam, but from the conclusion it is quite clear that we simply do not want foreign dentists and, if nothing else, we will come up with a reason. Even the proposed temporary work experience will not allow them to pass the exam, as it only takes into account inpatient care. However, dentists practice in dental clinics, so temporary professional practice does not apply to dentists.

By the way, not only doctors go abroad from us, but also patients. It is no secret that more solvent Slovaks like doctors in Austria, and more and more Slovaks are beginning to turn to dentists in Hungary, where, among other things, they like the quality of service and prices. Dental tourism is a signal to the system that something is rotten in the Slovak state.

In conclusion, I want to wish that in the new year good changes are adopted that will move our health care forward, and not in the opposite direction.

Current articles by Alona Kurotova are also available at