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Migration von Arbeitskräften im Gesundheitswesen

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Botschafter Rolf Nikel sprach am 23. Februar anlässlich des Seminars „Migration von Arbeitskräften im Gesundheitswesen“.

Rede des Botschafters Rolf Nikel anlässlich des Seminars „Migration von Arbeitskräften im Gesundheitswesen“ am 23. Februar 2017.

Szanowni Państwo,

serdecznie witam Państwa dzisiaj w Ambasadzie Niemiec. Pragnę również podziękować Instytutowi Spraw Publicznych, Fundacji imienia Friedricha Eberta oraz Fundacji Współpracy Polsko-Niemieckiej za owocną kooperację w przygotowaniu tego seminarium.

In November 2015, we already organized a seminar about qualified migrants in Germany and in Poland. In March 2016, we held the conference „brain drain – brain gain – brain exchange, qualified migrants in Poland and Germany“. Since then immigration, particularly of Ukrainian workers to Poland, reached a new dimension. Both Germany and Poland have become concerned about increasing labour shortages.

The health care sector serves as a good example. Worldwide we are lacking qualified health personnel. Low-income countries are more likely to be hard-hit by such shortages. But wages are not the only factor when it comes to attract qualified workers from abroad.

The recognition of foreign professional qualifications is an important precondition for the integration into the labour market. Also language plays a decisive role. In the medical field, the ability to communicate is sometimes a matter of life and death.

Furthermore, real net wages in Germany e. g. of nurses sometimes are not as high as some might expect. Working conditions do not always meet the expectations of young health professionals either.

The share of foreign trained and foreign doctors in Germany is still relatively low. Although rising recently, with 8.8 % in 2013 we are far below the average of OECD countries. In English speaking countries, the share is much higher, up to 42.6 % in New Zealand. The phenomenon of emigration of doctors is also well known in Germany. For instance, some German doctors are looking for jobs in Britain, Switzerland and Norway.

We need qualified immigration. Therefore, we are well-advised to work towards equal treatment of migrants. We are grateful for the contribution of Polish doctors and nurses to our health care system. Nontheless, the most important countries of origin of foreign doctors in Germany are Romania, Greece and Austria. Poland is No 5 with around 2.000 doctors. We also have 1.000 doctors from Ukraine practising in Germany.

EU nationals obviously enjoy the free movement of labour. The recognition of diploma has been facilitated. But we are also well aware of the lack of health care workers in other EU Member States.

Only recently, we started programs to attract nurses from third countries such as Bosnia-Hercegovina or the Philipines. Still, cultural differences can be and sometimes are a problem.

Migration is an increasingly important factor for the health sector in Germany. However, we cannot rely only on immigration to overcome the challenges of our health system. In Germany, different reforms are underway to address shortages of doctors and nurses and to make the health sector more attractive.

Allow me to mention in this context the so called Innovation Fund, a milestone reform to promote innovative care models. The Innovation Fund supports future-oriented models of integrated care, networking and cross-sectoral cooperation

In rural areas, financial incentives have been related to encourage health care workers to establish themselves in undersupplied or structurally backward regions.

In order to secure a sufficient number of junior doctors according to the need in the long run, the Federal Ministries of Health and of Education and Research are currently elaborating a “master plan for medical studies”.

Warschau, 23. Februar 2017

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