Slovenia is a country with a relatively low density of medical doctors and registered nurses. This is an important problem in facing this epidemic. These health workforce shortages were well known prior to the outbreak and were the product of a multitude of factors, although educational capacity has been greatly increased recently for both categories of health professionals mentioned.
To increase or maintain the availability of health workers, the Government decided to interrupt all specialty training programmes and appoint doctors in specialist training to services, which are needed to manage the COVID-19 epidemic. Additionally, medical students have been commissioned to work on a special free helpline (under the supervision of experienced specialists, mostly infectious disease specialists, epidemiologists and public health doctors). If needed, there might be a call for nursing professionals who had previously worked in ICUs to return to the workforce in order to help bridge the workforce gaps there.
Medical students’ exams will be suspended but they will be permitted to continue after suspension of the restrictions. Medical and nursing courses have been adapted accordingly and are now provided mostly through different online platforms.
Update 12 May: Specialty training will be restarted. In the initial measures to contain the epidemic, all specialty training of medical doctors was interrupted and specialists in training, especially those in non-surgical specialties, were allocated to the points where they could help with the epidemic and treatment of patients.