Doctors and nurses flee economic crisis in Spain

RARE SIGHT: Cutbacks in the ambulance service can cost lives.

DOCTORS and nurses are fleeing the economic crisis and heading abroad in search of work.

According to Alicante’s College of Nursing, the exodus of medical professionals abroad is on the rise and has reached its highest level since the start of the economic crisis.

The College said it received 277 enquiries last year about working abroad compared to just 68 in 2011.

In the case of doctors, emigration is also experiencing a significant increase compared to the stagnation in the entry of foreign doctors to the Costa Blanca. The data provided by the General Council of Medical Colleges (WTO) shows that during the past year 302 physicians in the region requested the necessary certifications to work abroad, which represented an increase of 56 per cent over the previous year. The UK is the firm favourite for those re-locating, but applications to France, Germany and Portugal are on the rise.

The worrying trend highlights the current situation of the region which is suffering from high unemployment levels and cutbacks in welfare and education as well as health. Just this week Orihuela’s Councillor for the Coast, Martina Scheurer hit out at news that the regional health authority in Valencia has withdrawn the overnight emergency ambulance service for 33,000 residents on the Orihuela Costa. “This is not a decision made by Orihuela.”

Although the Department of Health maintains that the ‘transfer’ of ambulances between areas is still under study, the fleet of emergency vehicles has been cut across the Vega Baja.

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