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HEALTH

Danish patient organisations call for more foreign staff to ease strain on hospitals

An association for patients in Denmark says more foreign professionals should be hired to ease understaffing problems at hospitals.

Herlev Hospital. An association for patients in Denmark has called for more foreign professionals to help ease labour shortages-
Herlev Hospital. An association for patients in Denmark has called for more foreign professionals to help ease labour shortages- Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix

Both short-term and long-term problems with a lack of medical staff at hospitals in Denmark must be addressed, said Danske Patienter, the umbrella organisation for all societies for patients and their loved ones in the country.

The call from the organisation comes after many doctors and nurses said in a study that the pressure on hospitals was adversely affecting patients.

The deputy director of Danske Patienter Annette Wandel said capacity in both the private and public healthcare sectors must be increased. More staff must be retained in the sector while a higher number trained, she said.

“And the option of using foreign labour must be brought into play,” she added.

The survey which forms the background to Danske Patienter’s response was made in collaboration with a number of unions for Danish medical professionals – including senior consultants, junior doctors and nurses – as part of a documentary by broadcaster TV2.

54 percent of junior doctors said in the survey that understaffing or high workloads have contributed to patients’ conditions worsening.

Consultants and nurses said the same thing in 47 and 46 percent of cases respectively.

Some of the doctors and nurses went as far as to say that the pressure on staff could have fatal consequences, with 9 percent of junior doctors and nurses saying that understaffing or high workloads have been a contributory factor in the death of a patient.

Wandel said the situation is extremely serious.

“We are in a very critical situation,” she said, citing the coronavirus crisis and nurses’ strikes as having brought the health system under increasing strain.

“It can be very dangerous for patients if more mistakes happen,” she added.

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READER QUESTIONS

READER QUESTION: Do Denmark’s residency rules allow you to take a side job?

A reader asked about what the rules are for taking a second side job if you have a work permit or residency permit in Denmark. Here are the rules.

READER QUESTION: Do Denmark's residency rules allow you to take a side job?

READER QUESTION: If I came in pre-Brexit on the grounds of self sufficiency, and I’m on a temporary residency permit, am I allowed to do a bit of self employed work to top my funds up?

For this reader, the rules are quite clear.

“A temporary residence permit granted according to the Withdrawal Agreement (Brexit) also includes the right to work in Denmark – even though the person has resided in Denmark on grounds of sufficient resources or as an economically inactive person,” the Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI), told The Local via email. 

But for other non-EU citizens, here under one of Denmark’s many job schemes, such as the Fast-track scheme, Pay limit scheme, and the Positive lists, or under the various researcher schemes, the rules are more complicated. 

READ ALSO: How can you get a work permit in Denmark if you are not an EU national?

You are generally allowed to get a second job, but you may have to apply for a separate work permit for paid sideline employment, (find information from SIRI here), and also fulfil various conditions. 

If you are a researcher with a permit under the Researcher scheme or the Researcher track under the Fast-track scheme, a Guest researcher, a PhD student, a performing artist or a professional athlete or coach, you are allowed to take up unlimited sideline employment without needing to apply for an additional work permit for sideline employment. 

If, however, you are employed as a researcher under the Pay Limit Scheme, then you have to apply for a special work permit for sideline employment.

People who received their residency permits under the Jobseeker scheme are not eligible for a sideline employment permit. 

For the other job schemes, you need to apply for a separate work permit for paid sideline employment, find information from SIRI here.

“For sideline employment, the salary must be the standard one for the job, and within the same area of ​​work as the main occupation,” SIRI said. 

For example, a musician might want a permit for sideline employment as an instructor at an academy of music, or a doctor might want a permit for sideline employment to teach at a medical school. 

You can be granted a sideline permit for as long as as the duration of your main work permit. 

If you lose your sideline job, you must inform SIRI. If you lose the main job that is the basis for your main work permit, your sideline job permit is automatically invalidated. 

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