site.btaGeneral Practitioners' Average Age Is Around 60 Years
Bulgaria has about 4,000 general practitioners (GPs) and their average age is 60 years, the President of the National Association of General Practitioners in Bulgaria (NAGPB), Lyubomir Kirov, said in an interview for BTA.
On March 8, NAGPB sent a letter to caretaker Minister of Health Asen Medzhidiev in connection with enquiries from young people who had just earned a degree in medicine and wanted to specialize in general medicine but were faced with some problems. Presenting the young people's questions, NAGPB urged the authorities to provide them with access to all relevant information, considering that most GPs are relatively older people, and a shortage of such personnel is looming on the horizon.
Kirov told BTA that young medical specialists are often inclined to become GPs. "They may not be as many as we would like, but still, they are there," he said. According to him, the study of general medicine can be made more appealing by incorporating more diagnosis and treatment methods into the curriculum and by providing more funding and better working rules. The very method of specializing also needs to be improved, Kirov said.
Among the problems confronting GPs, he singled out the aggressive behaviour of some patients, low pay rates and excessive paperwork.
"Paperwork can be overwhelming anywhere in the world, not just in Bulgaria," Kirov said. "What makes Bulgaria unique is that digitization has not reduced paperization. This is so because the institutions regard physicians and their assistants as potential offenders rather than partners. Secondly, the public administration does not want to lose the comfort created over the years - after all, digitization requires new skills, attention and other things."
Public funding for primary medical care in Bulgaria is one-fifth of the average EU level, Kirov noted, adding that local physicians practically get just BGN 12 for a medical checkup. According to Kirov, most GPs suffer from a medium or high degree of burnout.