A great victory for junior Geriatricians and Geriatrics!
Contributor: Hana Vankova, MD, PhD
Origin/affiliation: Czech Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology, Czech Republic
We would like to share a very special experience of the junior Czech geriatricians.
The Czech Ministry of Health suggested a reform to the medical postgraduate education, aiming (among other) to cancel geriatrics as a specialty. They wanted to reduce the number of specialties, making geriatrics and others an “add-on module” only. This would complicate the access of early-career physicians to gaining the geriatric education. In our system, it is very difficult for junior physicians to participate in the add-on modules, sometimes it may be economically and/or organizationally almost impossible for them. It might also make geriatrics less attractive and in the end lead to a lower number of physicians capable of providing a quality care for geriatric patients. This challenge led both experienced and young geriatricians to joint activities to promote the role of geriatrics to stakeholders, physicians and the public.
Did young geriatricians give up? No at all!
A protest Letter to the Minister of Health was written. Students of the geriatric seminars at the Third Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, initiated this petition which was shared in the whole country. The letter was signed by hundreds of young physicians and medical students interested in the field.
We negotiated with the Head of the Parliamentary Commission for Health. We participated in the parliamentary debates about the new law.
Finally, geriatrics stayed a specialty within the medical education of the Czech Republic!!
This has been a very intense experience for us. It kick-started networking of the junior physicians interested in geriatrics, since 2017 till now. We feel connected in an active network and we feel responsible for the development of geriatrics in our country.