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The migration of doctors to and from Germany



To analyse the role of Germany in the context of the strong international migration of doctors. In doing so, the migration of German doctors abroad and foreign doctors to Germany is qualitatively and quantitatively presented.

Subjects and methods

The annual statistical reports from the country's medical associations given to the Federal Medical Association were investigated on migratory movements. Furthermore, a survey on how many German doctors are working in these countries was done within relevant organisations in some European countries and the US.


Germany is affected by an international migration of doctors in two directions. German doctors are emigrating and as well foreign doctors are immigrating. The exchange is not balanced, Germany loses more doctors every year to foreign countries than it gains through immigration.

Discussion and conclusions

The increasing emigration of German doctors reinforces the shortage of doctors in Germany. In addition, the functioning of the German health system increasingly depends on the immigration of foreign doctors.

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Conflict of interest

The author discloses any relevant associations that might pose a conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to T. Kopetsch.

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Kopetsch, T. The migration of doctors to and from Germany. J Public Health 17, 33–39 (2009).

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  • Emigration of doctors
  • Immigration of doctors
  • Shortage of doctors