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Estonian brain drain boon to Finland

Estonia wants to reverse a medical migration trend, which has sent many of its trained health professionals to pursue more lucrative careers in Finland.

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Estonia wants to reverse its medical brain drain. Image: Tommi Parkkinen/Yle

Rural areas have been the hardest hit by the brain drain.

The small Baltic country's social affairs minister, Hanno Pevkur, has promised to establish the exact number of Estonian doctors working in Finland by this coming autumn.

"We know, for instance, that in 2010 we approved 163 doctors trained in Estonia. Some of them were Finns who had been trained in Estonia. The statistics don’t show how many of them are Finns," said Tarja Tamminen, a spokesperson for Finnish medical licensing watchdog Valvira.

A recent survey of Estonian medical students found that many were interested in working abroad, particularly in Finland. To counter the trend, the Estonian government is offering young doctors bonuses up to 15,000 euros to practice medicine at home.

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