11. 8. 2018
In addition to worrying demographic trends, Slovenian hospitals are becoming increasingly understaffed. Low pay and poor working conditions force Slovenian nurses to look for jobs elsewhere, putting even more pressure on those who remain.
In a recent call to policymakers to attend the problem immediately, starting with increasing the number of medical school openings for students, the Slovenian Chamber of Health and Midwife Care describes the current situation as alarming.
The most recent available data from 2016 shows a 25.4 % shortage in medical care providers in Slovenian hospitals alone, which amounts to a total of 2,109 for both college and high school graduate nurses. This number does not include nurses employed in other types of institutions, such as elderly homes, where, according to complaints, working conditions are the harshest.
The existing nurses, who have to somehow cover for the lack of staff, are not only overworked but also poorly payed, considering the amounts they might receive for doing less work, say, in Austria. According to one report, monthly pay for a nurse, who works three days a week in an Austrian hospital amounts to 1800 euros after tax deductions, while five days a week with lots of overtime in Slovenia would get them about 800 and at most 900 euros a month.
Slovenian nurses are therefore desperately looking to relocate to either less demanding jobs at home or better paid and less stressful positions abroad, putting even more burden on those who remain.
Worrying demographic and other trends don’t only affect the increasing need for health care in an ageing society, but also the providers of medical services themselves. Out of 22,000 nurses in Slovenia the largest share is aged 54-57 years old, with more than 8,200 currently working nurses older than 50. This will further aggravate the problem, as in the following years, when this experienced generation retires, there won’t be enough nurses in the labour market to replace them.
Therefore the Slovenian Chamber of Health and Midwife Care has called for an immediate increase in the number of places for students in medical high schools, and for better financial and psycho-physical care of the existing hospital nurses to keep them in the country.