GENERAL INFORMATION - DEMOGRAPHICS
Greece has a population of 11 million inhabitants and is a member of the European Union, the European Association of Urology and the European Board of Urology. There are 94 urologic departments out of which 33 are licenced to educate residents. There are 182 residents in a total number of 960 urologists.
NATIONAL UROLOGICAL SOCIETY
Residents' Section of HUA / Τμήμα Ειδικευομένων EOE
In Greece, a graduate Medical Doctor after 12 months of community health-service and 12 months of military service may opt to specialize in Urology. A 5-year staged training program is offered: - 1 year basic surgical training in General Surgery (common trunk) - 3 years Urology - 1 year divided in two of the following specialties (on rotation): Gynecology, Plastic Surgery & Pediatric Urology The training program of Urologists should encompass their practice in diagnosis and treatment in urinary incontinence and urodynamics, pediatric urology, andrology and infertility, urologic oncology, trauma, urolithiasis and urogenital endocrinology, laparoscopic urology, and use of ultrasounds. Physician training in Urology is conducted in training-centers validated and accredited by the Central Health Council (CHC), an advisory body to the Minister of Health and Welfare. There is a fixed number of posts per training-center, which is defined by the CHC. Vacancies are filled through a selection procedure conducted by the local Prefectural Health Directorates. Candidates for a specific training-center are registered in a waiting list and are being selected on a first-come first-hire basis. Waiting time may vary considerably among training-centers and in the some cases is over 2 years (may extend up to 5 years at present time).
This waiting list is a big problem for residents in Greece and exists because of the big numbers of doctors in our country Specialty is awarded upon successful completion of residency training, following a written and oral examination before a scientific committee. A large percentage of residents and young urologists participate the EBU examination in Urology, encouraged accordingly by the National Association. Regarding the education of residents, there is a yearly education program in every urologic department. The stuff of the department together with the residents is responsible for this program (the number, the frequency and the contents of the lectures) under the supervision of the director.
The Hellenic Urological Association (H.U.A) organises once a month lectures and literature updating that take place in Athens. Since 2005, a 5 days educational course for residents in the last year of residency is also organised once a year by H.U.A. In addition, each section of H.U.A (such as Urooncology, Neurourology, Andrology, Endourology etc) as well as various departments, of a university or not, organize symposia and seminars in different cities around Greece where residents can participate, usually without fee. After national exams , H.U.A grants a yearly scholarship of 20000 euros for training abroad, for residents and young urologists. Furthermore, there are scholarships granted by the government or various foundations for young urologists for a period of training abroad. In Greece residents don't have a logbook of surgical practice during their residency program, so there is a great variability in training.
According to a recent survey which the national committee of residents conducted in Athens, nowadays residents feel that their experience in minor surgery is fair to good, poor in major surgery and fair to good in endourology. Phd and clinical research are not compulsory according the national residency program regulations but many residents are involved in various research or Phd projects. Regulations on working hours according the latest EU laws are not yet applied in Greece, so the typical day of a resident starts at about 6.30 - 7.30 a.m. and finishes at 15.00 -16.00 p.m. We are at "on call duty" 4-10 days monthly, which depends on the number of the residents of a department. The salary of a resident is around 1000 euros and every "on call duty" is paid between 60-100 euros. The mean salary in the private sector ,for a young urologist is around 800 euros while a senior urologist (working in the N.H.S.) earns about 1500 euros monthly not including the "on call" services. Most of the departments exercise General Urology. Radical operations especially cystectomies and endourology of the upper tract are done in a number of departments. In a few departments laparoscopy is done as well. In some departments there are specialized outpatient departments (andrology, lithiasis, prostate, neurourodynamics etc). The 2nd Urologic Department of Athens Medical School is accredited by FEBU. Residents of other countries who would like to apply for clinical training or research in Greece, are kindly requested to address the national committee of residents for more informations.
Urological "inflation" and its consequences is a reality and competition in the profession is very strong. Upon finishing residency training, young urologists usually work as office urologists, or staff public or private health trusts. It is also possible to occupy hospital positions (mainly in smaller cities) or get an academic appointment. The National Urological Association of Greece has adopted a CME credit system, collaborates with both the EBU and the EAU and promotes their initiatives. The Ministry of Health is currently reassessing residency training and in the years to come important changes are anticipate.
FELLOWSHIP - RESEARCH OPPORTUNTIES
Urological Departments in a number of Academic Institutions are engaged in R & D initiatives, some of which are sponsored by EU funds. Cities with Medical Schools are: Athens (2 urologic departments within medical school), Thessaloniki (2 urologic departments),Larissa (1 department), Ioannina (1 department), Patra (1 department), Irakleion (1 department), Alexandroupolis (1 department).