Working Lives Croatia: Doctor

Working Lives Croatia: Dr Dragan Soldo

Croatia's economy is under the weather, and General practitioner Dr Dragan Soldo is feeling the pressure.

The government is cutting public sector pay in an attempt to get the country back on track. Meanwhile Dragan is trying to keep his patients in good health.

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On average, he sees 60-70 patients every day. "The phone is ringing all the time," he says, especially on Mondays, the busiest day of the week.

"You have patients that waited through the weekend to see you, as well as people who have appointments. It's the hardest day of the week."

Dragan's salary has barely changed in seven years. He admits he could earn three times his wages if he moved abroad, but for him that is out of the question.

"I am too proud to be the first doctor in my family, so I am not going to go to be a doctor in any other country," he insists.

He thinks there will be pros and cons to Croatia joining the EU.

On the plus side, Dragan hopes more people will come to Croatia for treatment. He says common treatments for cataract and hip surgery are much cheaper in Croatia than abroad.

On the downside he worries trained medics will be lured away at the prospect of better salaries in other EU countries.

However, he hopes that after the years of conflict in the 1990s when Croatia won its independence, his two young daughters can look forward to a better future.

"They can pick any school they want, and they can go to work in Europe or stay in Croatia. Life should be much much easier for them," he says.

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