Current state of play
Approximately 44,000 doctors are currently working at hospitals in Czech Republic with its 10.5 million inhabitants. Under the EU regime of free movement for work the country’s clinics are nowadays competing fiercely for doctors with their counterparts in other Member States, especially in the neighbouring countries Germany and Austria. The Czech Doctors’ Trade Union (LOK-SCL) has beencampaigning for years to achieve better pay and other working conditions for its medical professionals to prevent brain drain, with first tangible success in state-run hospitals.
How to become a doctor
Medical studies are offered by the faculties of medicine at the Charles University in Prague, Hradec Králové and Plzeň, Masaryk University in the student city of Brno and Palacký University in Olomouc. For foreign students fee-based programmes in English language are also available. The studies leading to the Doctor of Medicine degree are generally 6 years long and consist of a theoretical and clinical part.
Hurdles to take for foreigners
The Czech Ministry of Health is the competent authority for granting recognition of foreign qualifications and verifying the applicant’s ability to communicate in Czech language for performance of the medical profession of physician in Czech Republic. For EEA and Swiss nationals (and non-EEA nationals in some cases), qualifications from EEA and Switzerland are automatically recognized according to EU Directive 2005/36/EC. Application forms are available on the Ministry’s website. Non-EEA nationals need to pass a professional accreditation exam and a language test.
Once the recognition of qualification has been obtained from the Ministry of Health, the foreign doctor should apply for obligatory membership in the Czech Medical Chamber. The Czech Medical Chamber also grants licences for private practice.