The Doctors’ Society of Iceland is reporting a “serious shortage” of doctors, particularly in the western part of the country, and they claim this is a part of an ongoing reduction in the number of doctors in the country.
The West Iceland Health Center had advertised for six different general practitioner positions: two in Stykkishólmur, and one each in Hvammstangi, Borgarnes, Búðardal and Ólafsvík. The application deadline was 1 July, but only one application was submitted, for a health center in Hvammstangi. West Iceland Health Center managing director Guðjón Brjánsson told Vísir that he and his staff have serious concerns about the situation, as problems will arise if these positions are not filled. The health center has run the advertisements again.
Birna Jónsdóttir, chairman of the Doctors’ Society of Iceland, says that the situation in west Iceland is a part of the general picture in the country; that doctors are leaving. She says the government is sending the wrong message to young doctors by cutting their salaries. When asked if hiring foreign doctors was a possibility, Birna told reporters that she wouldn’t consider that a good result, but the most important thing is that any doctor applying be well educated and can meet the demands of the health care industry.
“[The government] is cutting wages. And so people decide, do I want to stay here or not?,” she told Vísir. “I find it more significant that 90% of Iceland’s doctors are still here, but the reduction in the amount of doctors in the country has been about 10%.”