Professor Gilbert Massard, who leads the recently launched bachelor of medicine at the University of Luxembourg, told the radio station it would technically be possible to set up the programme within the next three years, in time to serve the first students graduating from the bachelor’s degree.
Prior to the new course, Luxembourg offered a first-year bachelor's of medicine programme since the 1960s, offering a launchpad for students to continue their studies at partner universities in France of Belgium.
The pandemic has highlighted the country’s reliance on healthcare staff living abroad. Almost two thirds of nurses working in the healthcare sector live in the greater region. A survey conducted by Luxembourg’s association for medical students found that 30% of the country’s young doctors did not plan to return to their country of birth. And data suggests that 20% of existing doctors will retire within the next five years, although many are expected to work beyond retirement age.
Massard told Delano in October that young doctors don’t return because they study abroad for such a long time, often starting families in their adopted country. Besides organising bachelor's and master's courses in medicine in Luxembourg and offering specialisations, which are expected to begin in 2021 (in general practice, neurology and medical oncoglogy), the country needed to show there are job opportunities. “If you’re away from home for six to ten years, you forget what’s going on,” he said.