A long time in the waiting room

Surgery is the most popular specialization (and the most lucrative) among young doctors, followed by cardiology and endocrinology. With cardiovascular diseases and diabetes on the rise, these specializations also reflect the most common ailments today. According to a study carried out involving 1,000 graduates of the Athens Medical School between 2005 and 2006, a large number of students (4.2 percent) were not aware of the existence of general medicine even though this specialization has been recognized in Greece since 1986. Despite considerable demand, general medicine is not chosen by many young students. It is only chosen by those who want to be certain of finding a job, as there are many vacant positions at health centers (only 1,200 positions have been filled of the 2,700 available). The specializations that were most popular in the survey were general surgery (10.9 percent), cardiology (9.6 percent), endocrinology (8.7 percent) and obstetrics-gynecology (8.3 percent). Only 1.7 percent of students chose general medicine and some because they were older and more interested in the salary rather than in scientific advancement. As an associate professor in social medicine, Yiannis Toundas pointed out «the longest wait is eight years for endocrinology, opthalmology, dermatology and obstetrics-gynecology. The wait for cardiology and general surgery is between five to six years and for general medicine, which until recently was unprofitable, the wait is four years.»

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