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Specialty education and Greek financial crisis: should I stay or should I go?
  1. Stamatios Petousis,
  2. George Karamitros,
  3. Chrysoula Margioula-Siarkou,
  4. Panagiotis Christidis,
  5. Apostolos Mamopoulos,
  6. Apostolos Athanasiadis,
  7. Themistoklis Dagklis
  1. 3rd Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical School, Faculty of Health Sciences, Aristotle Unversity of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stamatios Petousis, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hippokrateion General Hospital, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki 54642, Greece; petousisstamatios{at}gmail.com

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The choice of medical specialty is a crucial point in medical students’ career. Such a decision affects decisively students’ professional future and defines the layout of the medical personnel that will eventually staff both public and private medical sector.1 Factors affecting the final decision are related with expectations about working environment, popularity of each specialty as well as the work-life balance that each specialty entails.2–5

Meanwhile, as Greece is experiencing (or finalising) the seventh consecutive year of a deep financial crisis, the funding of the National Healthcare System (Greek NHS) and the health sector in general has been radically reduced. Austerity measures resulted in severe cuts in healthcare services provided by Greek NHS including a significant reduction of doctors’ allowances.6 7 The crisis also affected private healthcare, therefore forcing private physicians to reduce the cost of provided medical services in order to remain competitive. Apart from the financial aspect, young graduates of Medicine have to enrol in a waiting list for a training post in the hospital of their choice. There is no process of selection as in most developed countries, either examinations or an interview, rather a simple waiting list. This situation creates long waiting times for certain more popular specialties. As a result, an increasing proportion of medical students sincerely consider the possibility of migration after graduation.

In order to study the impact of the economic crisis on the intentions of medical students regarding the choice of a specialty and professional migration, an observational questionnaire-based survey was conducted at the …

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