A Round Table entitled “Actuality, Challenges and Prospects for Healthcare Professionals in Bulgaria” hosted by the National Assembly
22 юни 2010 г.
A Round Table on the topic “Actuality, Challenges and Prospects for Healthcare Professionals in Bulgaria” was held at the Bulgarian Parliament under the patronage of the Vice-President of the 41st National Assembly and Chairman of the Healthcare Committee Dr. Lachezar Ivanov. The discussion was organized by the Bulgarian Association of Healthcare Professionals.
The National Assembly Vice-President underscored that the subject of the forum was extremely topical and important not only for the Bulgarian healthcare professionals but for the Bulgarian healthcare system in general. He further pointed out that the total number of nurses in Bulgaria is critically low and that a stable tendency of reflux from the profession is being observed with hundreds of nurses continuously leaving the country.
The nurses’ guild in Bulgaria is in a deep crisis due to the lack of sector development policy during the past 20 years as a result of which almost 50 percent of the nurses have left the country, said Stanka Markova, Chairperson of the Association. In her words, after Bulgaria’s accession to the EU around 1200 nurses used to immigrate to foreign countries every year. At present Bulgaria is in need of 35 000 nurses in order to strike the minimum required clinical balance of 2 to 1 between physicians and nurses. While the EU average is 750 nurses per every 100 000 people, in Bulgaria this proportion is 425 per 100 000.
The Bulgarian Association of Healthcare Professionals has moved a proposal for starting salary of at least 2.5 minimum wages and target funding by the National Health Insurance Fund for the nurses working with general practitioners allocated according to the number of patients and workload.
Among the other proposals are such as setting the regulatory basis for opening healthcare centers where nurses, obstetric nurses, rehabilitators etc. could work on funding by the National Health Insurance Fund and other financial sources (municipal budgets, voluntary health insurance funds, direct payments by patients, donations etc.). The Bulgarian Association of Healthcare Professionals are urging the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to include the profession of "Healthcare Assistant" in the National Occupational Classification and provide support for professional development of the healthcare assistant through the "Human Resources Development" OP.
The Chairman of the parliamentary Healthcare Committee Dr. Lachezar Ivanov promised to forward the Association’s proposals to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to prepare opinion papers. He also said that all proposals would be considered by the Healthcare Committee and that a working group would be set up for drafting legislative amendments.