Seven times more Icelandic nurses and physicians applied for a work permit in Norway last year than in 2008; 133 applied in 2010, up from 19 in 2008 and 85 in 2009. Language courses in Iceland in practical Norwegian for healthcare workers regularly sell out.
The Landspítali hospital in Reykjavík. Photo by Dagbjört Oddný Matthíasdóttir.
Birna Jónsdóttir, chairwoman of the Association of Icelandic Physicians, explained to RÚV that this development is caused by the low salaries of medical workers in Iceland, in addition to a worse work environment than in Norway and a high workload.
Her statement that Icelandic medical workers are growing increasingly tired of this situation which has continuously worsened since 2008 is supported by statistics.
In 2001-2007, 22 Icelandic medical workers applied for work permits in Norway on average. In 2008 they numbered 19 but in 2009, their number had increased to 85 and in 2010 to 133—a seven-fold increase since the banking collapse.
Jónsdóttir said the government must turn this development around. “They have to make it desirable to work in Iceland.”
Meanwhile, further cutbacks to state expenses to the Landspítali national hospital are planned in the new budget bill. In a statement, the hospital’s Nursing Council warns against further cutbacks, reasoning that it will impact healthcare service, visir.is reports.
Click here to read more about Icelanders moving to Norway.