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Prime Minister noticed the foreign medics and volunteers. A coincidence?

After the first general round of testing, Prime Minister Igor Matovich noticed Carly from Texas, volunteer Nadezhda from Moscow, Ulyana from Lviv, or even Yelena from Kharkiv. An accident?

He thanked them on his Facebook profile, which was really nice and sincere and, as he said, it was meant to be. Is this a change, a coincidence, or just his typical marketing?

There were foreign health workers and volunteers all over the country helping with the testing, and it didn't matter if they agreed or disagreed with this population testing. Some of them wanted to help in order to support Slovak health workers, who, even without the weekend testing, have a lot on their mind. They had a wonderful experience, and I heard more than once that they really enjoyed volunteering in the company of wonderful people dedicated to their profession.

Hospitals, medical and other medical associations have long warned of a shortage of medical personnel, which is only getting worse in these difficult times. Foreign medics are one solution to the problem, but this solution is considered taboo in our state. I have been writing about foreign medics since before the Corona, and I continue to do so during the pandemic. When people ask me about improvements, I answer that unfortunately things have gotten more complicated. Foreign medics are invisible to our country.

Why is this so?

EU action on the recognition of professional qualifications

The problem is that the amendment to the European Directive 2005/36/EC came into force in Slovakia in 2016, and despite the fact that there was already a shortage of medical staff, we introduced the directive with an upper limit of stringency without having prepared practical mechanisms for training and the scope of practical activities. This change was introduced in our legal system, in particular by Law No. 422/2015 Coll. on the recognition of evidence of education and professional qualifications, and applies in particular to the recognition of documents issued in accordance with the legislation of a Member State or third country. The European Commission has now sued the Slovak Republic before the EU Court of Justice for non-compliance with EU law. The Commission registers non-compliance on the part of Slovakia with regard to establishment (compensatory measures for significant differences in training of EU citizens), temporary provision of services (difficulties in providing services to professionals from member states that do not regulate the profession), coordination of minimum training requirements and scope of work, which concerns architects, veterinarians, doctors, nurses, dentists, midwives and pharmacists, among others. So we treat foreign doctors from the EU the same way we treat professionals from non-EU countries, but we do not allow them to work on our territory, because suddenly we allow them to do something that, God forbid, will make our lives more difficult. We don't see it as help.

Arrival of doctors from EU and non-EU countries

Unfortunately, we cannot expect doctors and medical workers from Western Europe to come to Slovakia en masse. Although it could happen. Theoretically. I know an Italian doctor who has a Slovakian wife and moved here for her. Not because of the job, but because of her. As a medical graduate in the EU, he should have automatic recognition of his education, but he also faced an obstacle in the form of the bureaucratic system. But this is a drop in the ocean compared to non-EU doctors, who have a different type of recognition of qualifications, as nurses do. Slovakia is looking for anesthesiologists and pediatricians, but the truth is that we can't get them here from outside the EU, even if we really wanted to.

Let's ask ourselves the following questions

  • Why didn't we abolish the usurious exam fees (€665 to €1,064) plus the extra €100 for educational recognition when we supposedly need doctors?
  • Why did we cancel all exams for foreign nurses in 2020 when we know we are 15,000 short. We don't want them to come to us that badly?
  • Why don't we have training for foreign nurses, but we have many artificial barriers for them?

The Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, Igor Matovic, pointed to foreign medics and volunteers in testing, and because I am an optimist, I want to believe that the ice is slowly but surely beginning to melt and that the situation will only get better. What else can we do but hope for the best. After all, it can't get any worse.

Current articles by Alona Kurotova are also available at