Journal of Public Health

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 347–351

Brain drain threat–Polish students are not satisfied with labor market options for health professionals in Poland

  • Krzysztof Krajewski-Siuda
  • Piotr Romaniuk
  • Barbara Madaj
  • John Forbes
  • Lech Hubicki
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10389-007-0174-5

Cite this article as:
Krajewski-Siuda, K., Romaniuk, P., Madaj, B. et al. J Public Health (2008) 16: 347. doi:10.1007/s10389-007-0174-5



Following the EU expansion in 2004, the threat of mass migration of medical doctors in the new member states has become a widely debated issue. It is particularly relevant in the context of skills shortages in developed countries that seek to fill gaps in their systems with foreign labor. This makes doctors from the former Eastern bloc an attractive resource.


To explore and quantify the potential scale of medical migration, a study of intentions of medical and dentistry students was conducted at the largest medical university in Poland.


A total of 367 students of the first and final degree was examined using our own questionnaire. Binary and multivariate analyses based on logistic regression models were used to examine the data.


The study shows that 85% of students admit they are considering going abroad, mainly because of poor financial and professional development perspectives at home. No clear profile of a potential migrant could be built. Only those with better grades are less inclined to move, suggesting that overall people from different backgrounds are equally dissatisfied with their professional options at home. Almost 80% of those considering migration would reconsider their decisions if appropriate job opportunities were available locally.


The majority of medical students are considering going abroad to work, and those in their final year have been actively preparing to do so. If Poland wants to retain its doctors, it needs to take action to improve both the financial and development perspectives in the medical profession.


PhysiciansMedical studentsWork emigration

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Krzysztof Krajewski-Siuda
    • 1
  • Piotr Romaniuk
    • 1
  • Barbara Madaj
    • 2
  • John Forbes
    • 3
  • Lech Hubicki
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Health Policy, Faculty of Public HealthMedical University of SilesiaBytomPoland
  2. 2.School of Slavonic and East European StudiesUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Clinical Sciences and Community HealthThe University of EdinburghEdinburghScotland
  4. 4.Department of Biostatistics, Faculty of Public HealthMedical University of SilesiaKatowicePoland