Contemporary emigration threat to the country's health care system
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Migration of health professionals has been an object of much policy discussion in the global context for many years, however, in Lithuania it is a new phenomenon. This article discusses the migration of health professionals issue in the context of free movement of persons after the EU enlargement. On the one hand, free movement of persons is an optimum condition for political, economic, social and cultural transformations within a society, but, on the other hand, the loss of human capital because of emigration of highly-skilled people and migration of health professionals can have a negative long-term impact on the further development of the country. The consequences of migration of health professionals in Lithuania are perceived rather negatively. External migration of Lithuanian health professionals is seen as a loss of investments made in the process of preparing healthcare personnel. Medical or healthcare related studies are expensive and they are offered to Lithuanian citizens for free, whereas the skills and knowledge passed to students may be used in other countries, where work opportunities are much better than in Lithuania. The EU framework within which Lithuanian health professionals move at the moment may be also treated as a facilitator of decisions about mobility. However, the economic reason still prevails. Health professionals want to work and get such remuneration for their work that will allow them to live on a quite good level, without daily worries about bills, money for clothes, money to support the family, to invest in professional development. Salary of our physicians is not low, but keeping in mind, that physician’s work is very hard, responsible, requiring permanent training and skills development, the salary should be yet higher. In other countries the medical professions are respected, have higher position in the hierarchy of respected professions. It is partly not the case in Lithuania, since only specific categories of health professions are respected, while others seem to occupy much lower positions in the social hierarchy.
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