The Minister of Health and Labor Peep Peterson has signed a decree increasing the beginner's allowance for medical specialists working outside of Tallinn, Tartu or the local governments immediately neighboring thereto.
"High-quality medical care should not be limited to major cities, which is why we are encouraging young doctors to work in rural areas throughout Estonia," Peterson said.
The beginner's allowance for family physicians will grow up to threefold, to a maximum of €45,000, while the allowance for other specialists will increase up to twice as much, to a maximum of €30,000.
A medical specialist, including a general practitioner, within five years as of completion of residency, may apply for the allowance during the first year of employment. The grant of beginner's allowance will be decided by the Ministry of Social Affairs within two months after the submission of an application.
The new regulation also permits support to be awarded more than five years after completion of the specialization, if this is deemed necessary to ensure medical care in the region.
Anu Parvelo, a member of the board of the NGO Eesti Noored Perearstid, said that the shortage of general practitioners is serious all over Estonia, but is felt most acutely in smaller rural areas.
"Increasing the beginner's allowance will help ease this shortage and provide local authorities with additional means to attract young GPs to remote regions," Parvelo said.
Beginner's allowance for medical specialists is a lump-sum allowance paid to a physician who begins working as a medical specialist.
A family physician can apply for beginner's allowance if they begin working in a practice located outside of Tallinn, Tartu or the local governments immediately adjacent thereto.
Other medical specialists can apply for it if they begin working at a hospital outside Tallinn or Tartu City with the work load of at least thirty hours a week.
The administrative division of the territory of Estonia in force until 30 June 2017 will be used until 31 December 2025 for the determination of local authorities directly adjacent to Tallinn and Tartu City.
Editor: Kristina Kersa