Doctors, nurses shortage looms

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A Health Ministry survey found the ageing population of doctors and nurses in the General Healthcare System is expected to lead to a shortage in the next five years.

According to the survey, Cyprus might be playing a game of hide-and-seek with doctors and nurses in five years, as most registered medical professionals are over 41, while the number of retiring doctors is ever-increasing.

Meanwhile, dentists and pharmacists seem to hold a surplus, comfortably exceeding the EU average.

During the study’s presentation, Health Minister Popi Kanari stressed the importance of capacity planning, comparing it to a strategic health system workout.

The findings revealed that Cyprus has a good number of doctors, surpassing the EU average, but most are in the ‘experienced’ category, aged 41 and above.

Retirement is on the rise, and there’s a shortage of fresh blood entering the medical profession.

Even Cypriots studying medicine might not be enough to fill the gaps in doctors.

Furthermore, the survey found that young doctors, while registered in Cyprus, do not practice medicine on the island.

Young Cypriot doctors are on the national register but do not return to Cyprus to work after completing their studies.

Therefore – and as mentioned at the conference – it is necessary to give incentives to these doctors to return and offer their services.

Authorities suggest offering these professionals sweet incentives to bring their talents back home.

In a performance review, 17,000 health professionals were recorded, with 63% being doctors and nurses.

As noted in the survey’s findings, nurses will also be scarce in the next five years.

Health Minister Kanari emphasised: “Understanding the healthcare workforce’s ins and outs allows for targeted actions to tackle health-related challenges”.

After recent health sector reforms, the ministry, armed with knowledge from an EU-funded project, is gearing up for serious capacity upgrades.

“The ministry is actively moving forward with recruiting personnel for functional units responsible for overseeing and planning needs and possibilities”.

According to the Health Minister, a set of actions slated for implementation have been carefully prepared.