Medical educational institutions

In Croatia, there are 4 universities which offer medical degrees: the University of Zagreb, University of Rijeka, University of Osijek and University of Split.

The Medical School in Zagreb was the first school of this kind in the country, established in 1917, and from the very beginnings it has been the leading medical school in the region. The medical professionals who obtained their degree at this school were the leading figures in establishing the other three Faculties in Rijeka (1955), Split (1977) and Osijek (1979). Postgraduate education as part of the program offered at the Medical School in Zagreb has begun in mid 50ties in the form of training courses at the School of Public Health “Andrija Štampar” and developed into systematic postgraduate studies in the early 60ties. By the academic year of 1989/90, there were as many as 48 university courses in all fields of medicine.

The beginnings of “continuing medical education” at the Medical School in Zagreb date back to the 80s. The School passed the Resolution on conducting continuing medical education in 1989 that specified its purpose and the aims, as well the criteria for acceptance of projects of continuing medical education. In the period between 1992 and 1997, 69 courses were held, and in the late 90ties the number dramatically increased. An important factor in this increase was professional licencing that was first introduced in 1996, and the first extension was in 2002. A great effort has been made to improve the quality of the program. The program promotes the idea of lifelong learning, and, along with the research and specialist postgraduate studies, this education lasts until the end of one’s professional career. The common feature is also the ECTS grading system at all stages of postgraduate education. All activities at the Medical School in Zagreb have been monitored and harmonized through cooperation with the other faculties, especially in the recent years.

The reestablishment of the Croatian Medical Chamber in 1995 contributed to a special form of monitoring of continuing medical education, when licencing was introduced (1996), and relicencing was conducted twice (2002 and 2008). The total number of doctors with a valid licence of the Croatian Medical Chamber is 16 568, 12 149 of which are employed in health institutions. There are 6507 specialists working in hospitals (54%). There are 3104 (25%) of doctors with private practice contracted to the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance, and 668 (5.5%) without such contract. Furthermore, there are 28 foreign doctors with temporary licence.

Well organized education of medical personnel and harmonization of criteria and standards in education with the European trends is a good indicator of quality and expertise of Croatian doctors, who have also achieved recognition abroad. All of the abovementioned provides solid ground for competitive medical tourism as one of the main trends in the development of the tourist offer in Croatia.

There is also a wide network of nursing schools, with the university degree education introduced in the past decade to comply with the standards of the European Union.

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