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Denmark to speed up authorisation process for foreign medics

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Denmark to speed up authorisation process for foreign medics
Denmark's government wants to cut the processing time for full authorisation of foreign medical professionals. Photo; Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

Foreign medical professionals such as doctors and nurses from countries outside of the EU will be able to join the Danish workforce faster, if proposed new authorisation processes have the desired effect.

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The government is to propose a so-called short-cut authorisation process, enabling faster approval of foreign medical credentials.

“We are in severe need of qualified labour in our health system,” Health and Interior Minister Sophie Løhde said.

“But we unfortunately also seeing that very many skilled foreign nurses and doctors are finding that existing rules are tripping them up so they can’t get out there and contribute,” she told news wire Ritzau.

READ ALSO: Why does Denmark take so long to authorise foreign medical professionals?

Løhde is to begin on Friday negotiations with other parliamentary parties on measures to recruit more foreign health professionals.

Specifically, the shortcut will place step 5 of the application process – working under evaluation at two hospitals over a one-year period – concurrent with other steps of the process, so the overall time to reach authorisation is reduced.

“It will still be the case that the applicant must speak, read and write Danish,” Løhde said.

Under current rules, foreign doctors must pass a Danish language test, pass medical exams and a course in Danish medical law before being able to start working the evaluation period.

Prior to this, the Danish Patient Safety Authority must assess their existing medical qualifications to ensure they meet with Danish standards.

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Processing times for this element of the authorisation process have been extraordinarily long, with waits of up to 33 months reported by The Local in 2021. Spending to reduce those times was later announced by the government amid criticism from the parliamentary ombudsman.

That investment has had the desired impact according to the Health Ministry, which told Ritzau that spending on additional case workers has now brought the waiting time for the assessment to two months.

It could potentially be further reduced, however, given that the ombudsman concluded that the actual assessment of the foreign qualification for an individual case normally takes between two and five days, and that any processing time additional to this is due to a backlog in cases.

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