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‘Best graduates should start specializing immediately’

There are nearly 70,000 doctors in Greece, more than double those needed to meet the country’s requirements. In the future many doctors will be out of work. Ambition is the only incentive for today’s students that can compensate for the sacrifice and effort required to enter one of the medical schools. Greek society is unjust and deceptive. Firstly, it deceives by enabling students who do not have the right attributes to be doctors to enter medical school. This is unfair to the students who have struggled to get in with exams and also lowers the standards. Students fritter away six crucial years memorizing pages of books written for the needs of the writer rather than the student, without any training in research and clinical practice and no real contact with the hundreds of professors, many of whom consider their teaching posts a secondary occupation. Graduates wait for up to eight years before starting their specialization, for which demand is saturated. This is due to the downgrading or non-existence of other specializations, such as general medicine, social medicine, public health, occupational health, genetic medicine and more.Those who can afford to do so go abroad, creating even more socioeconomic disparities. Those who stay in Greece and work hard for lower wages obtain their specialization at the age of 35 to 40. The better students should be allowed to start their specialization straight away and the waiting lists be done away with. Doctors should also be able to start working in a region where there is a need. This article first appeared in Kathimerini’s weekly periodical, K, on June 10, 2007.

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