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“All Europe suffers from a shortage of physicians” Interview with Prof. Krasimir Ivanov for Darik radio – Varna

"There is a shortage of medical doctors not only in Bulgaria but all over Europe." Thus the Rector of Varna Medical University Prof. Dr. Krasimir Ivanov accounted for the increased number of foreign students who chose to study in Varna.  Prof. Ivanov announced for Darik radio that the number of students in the English-speaking program has risen by 300% for the new academic year and by 50% for the state order. According to the Rector, around 1 million doctors, who are needed for the whole of Europe, will not be trained in the forthcoming years.

The admission campaign at Varna Medical University was very successful this summer. Over 3500 are the students currently studying at the University, of whom 700 are foreigners from 34 countries. Only for this academic year, 250 students were admitted from Germany, Sweden, Great Britain, Turkey, Greece, etc. The attractiveness of the University among the foreign countries was explained by Prof. Ivanov by the active admission campaign as well as the shortage of doctors in the world as a whole. 
"During the last 2-3 decades the physician's profession is not very luring for the young people. This is a global European and national problem. It requires significant investment that is paid off very slowly and painfully. Last but not least, the negative attitude towards the doctors also repels young people. People should realize that the physicians only help, but they are not gods. This excessive expectation towards physicians led to this negative attitude. The scandals reported every day and the aggression toward physicians are totally unacceptable", underlined the Rector of Varna Medical University and appealed to the public to change the attitude towards the physicians through positive campaigns without generalizing and drawing conclusions from single cases.

The Rector added that many of our specialists leave the country attracted by the better conditions offered in the other countries. These are most frequently physicians who have advanced in their professional career in Bulgaria and receive salaries of 3-4 thousand Euro, residency, housing, employment and school for children abroad.

Prof. Ivanov admitted that the healthcare systems in EU are more advanced and developed in comparison to the health system in Bulgaria. Therefore, everyone should look for ways to improve the conditions, attract specialists and motivate them to work in our home country. A good example is provided by the University Hospital "St. Marina". There we created such conditions that specialists who used to work abroad returned to Bulgaria", said Prof. Ivanov.

In addition, he informed that the management works on three new projects in order to meet the University's requirements. They concern the construction of a new building for the Faculty of Pharmacy and its modern equipment as well as a new facility for the Varna Medical University.  The construction plan has already been designed for the area between "Marin Drinov" Street and "Tsar Asen" Street. The idea for the project is ready, too. When the paperwork is finished, the University is going to apply for European funding because it does not have the 60 million needed for this project. 

 "The University's development depends on the academic leadership. This year we have won 34 projects amounting to 6 million BGN. The projects are related to the University's management systems and the introduction of new interactive forms of training. It is envisaged that a unique bone marrow center for transplantation is established at the University. It is unacceptable for Bulgarians to seek treatment abroad. This is a leak of financial resources and expenditure for the country. Instead, the money should be invested in our healthcare", the professor stated.

​Pathoanatomists, pediatricians, specialists in infection diseases are among the doctors who are not sufficient in number for the county, said Dr. Ivanov. According to him, this fact is due to the problems associated to the inadequate financing of the activities by the Health Insurance Fund.

 "For example the infectious clinics belong to the University Hospital "St. Marina", which is a commercial company. If we want to increase the salaries, we need more patients. Does it mean that we should artificially create epidemics in order to have work? This is ridiculous. The financing of this activity should not depend on the number of patients", commented the specialist. There is an interest in the well-paid specialties such as dental medicine and interventional cardiosurgery", Dr. Ivanov explained and admitted that there are not many graduates interested in specializing obstetrics and gynecology. 

Prof. Krasimir Ivanov is one of the 114 doctors in Varna whose name was ranked among the best physicians in Bulgaria according to the Darik radio campaign in Varna.