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France — Staffing agencies compete over doctors from Eastern Europe

10 March 2010

The shortage of doctors and nurses in the French health service is beginning to create ferocious competition among French and foreign staffing agencies, La Croix reports.

Large numbers of doctors and nurses are imported mainly from the new Eastern member countries of the European Union, namely Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary and the Baltic countries.

Pascal Gaudron, Director at University Hospital Amiens, said "these agencies charge anything between 5,000 and 40,000 Euro but they also offer very different services. Some just send CVs, others take care of all sort of things such as finding accommodation, organising removals and language training."

Harald Molander of Swedish-Polish health care staffing agency Paragona, said "we employ doctors for Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the UK and France. We have opened a special training centre in Poland where we run language training courses for locum doctors who want to work in other countries. These are intensive language courses of 40 hours per week for 3.5 months where we also introduce them to the culture and regional aspects of the host country."

Jean-Claude Lecugy, local Councillor in the Loiret region, sees things differently. He said "these agencies make foreign doctors believe that they can make a fortune if they come over to France. In reality, it is not quite that easy and that quick."

The French medical specialist publication 'Le Quotidien du Medecin' last year published a story about a Romanian doctor who had been recruited via a staffing agency and was placed in a small French village. After only a few months he was poached by another staffing agency and placed in a hospital in a completely different part of France.



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