Many aspire to become rural doctors in Saxony

by | Mar 10, 2024 | German Daily Digest | 0 comments

Interest in Becoming Rural Doctors in Saxony Continues to Grow

In Saxony, a part of medical study positions is now being allocated to young people without a top-grade high school diploma (1,0er-Abitur). The number of applications has been increasing, with the CDU party also proposing a quota for dentists and pharmacists.

Students studying medicine

Record Number of Applicants for Rural Doctor Quota

The number of interested applicants for a medical study position through the rural doctor quota in Saxony has reached a new high. The Ministry of Health announced that they have received 130 applications for 40 study positions, compared to 119 and 67 applications in the preceding two years. The application deadline for this round was on February 29, 2024. The next application period will start in January 2025.

Rising Interest in Becoming Rural Doctors

Gesundheitsministerin (Minister of Health) Petra Köpping expressed her delight in the number of young people who can envision themselves serving as rural doctors in Sachsen. She stated, “The multitude of interested individuals shows that we have hit the pulse of the times with the rural doctor quota. We urgently need more young professionals to replace retiring general practitioners and specialists in the Free State of Saxony.”

Criteria for Selection Process

The selection process for the medical study positions places less emphasis on high-school grades and more on criteria such as the results of an aptitude test, experience in the healthcare sector or voluntary work, and personal attributes like social competence. The selected students commit to working as general practitioners in rural areas after completing their studies for a minimum of ten years. Failure to fulfill this commitment may result in a fine of up to 250,000 euros.

Addressing the Healthcare Gap in Rural Areas

The aim of the rural doctor quota is to secure medical care in rural areas in Saxony. Currently, there are 388 unfilled general practitioner positions, primarily outside major cities. Torgau, Frankenberg-Hainichen, Werdau, and Reichenbach, among others, are currently underserved. There is also a need for new general practitioners in Weißwasser, Bischofswerda, and Löbau. Additionally, there is a potential shortage of general practitioners in 25 out of 48 planning areas.

Proposals for Extension to Other Professions

CDU Secretary-General Alexander Dierks sees the high number of applications as a success of the rural doctor quota model. He suggests extending it to include quotas for rural dentists and pharmacists. It is predicted that by 2030, some regions will also face a shortage of dentists and oral surgeons. Dierks stated, “For pharmacists, it is also foreseeable that an increase in the current number of pharmacy study positions will be necessary to ensure comprehensive staffing. Therefore, there should be additional study positions for dentistry and pharmacy following the model of the rural doctor quota in Saxony.”

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