Consultant General Surgeon for Klaksvik in the Faroe Islands (KLGS09)
There are still some places in Europe which need doctors who can provide wide-ranging surgical and medical care, dealing with every patient who comes through the doors of their hospital.
The hospital is in Klaksvik, which is a fishing-port in the north of the Faroe Islands. Klaksvik is connected by road to the capital, Torshavn (one hour by car), but its three surgeons, supported by junior doctors) are the main providers of secondary healthcare for the 12000 population of the northern Faroe Islands.
The life-style in the Faroe Islands is notably peaceful, quiet, and friendly; there is time for the doctors to get to know the people, and to become known, in the local communities.
The islands are very beautiful, with hills rising 500 – 800 metres, and magnificent sea-cliffs fall sheer to the sea. These are unusual, but very enjoyable places, to live and work, for surgeons who want to use a wide range of clinical skills
Information about Klaksvíkar Sjúkrahús (Klaksvik Hospital)
These are answers to questions which have been asked by doctors who are applying for the job-vacancy at Klaksvíkar Sjúkrahús.
The Hospital and its equipment:
The Hospital was built in 1960-62 with some rebuilding and has a high standard of maintenance. The equipment is up to date.
A new Siemens digital X-ray was installed in 2006, and the hospital is equipped with; e.g. ultrasound scanner, gastroscope, arthoscopy, rectoscopy, etc.
The Hospital’s laboratory manages most analyses that are normally needed. The Hospital is self-sufficient for blood-supplies. Specially-trained anaesthesia-nurses provide anaesthesia.
Patients who cannot be handled at Klaksvíkar Sjúkrahús can be referred to the larger hospital in Torshavn, and patients who cannot be handled there can be referred to a hospital in Denmark. However, most patients from Klaksvík and the area are handled either by Klaksvíkar Sjúkrahús, or by the local family doctor (GP).
The living- and working-conditions of the doctors
Job-status of the doctors at Klaksvíkar Sjúkrahús
The doctors employed at Klaksvíkar Sjúkrhús are “consultants” and junior doctors. One doctor is in charge and has the overall responsibility, scheduals etc.
The working-day of the doctors
The normal daily working-hours are 08.00 – 15.00 Monday – Friday, with on-call duties every third weekday, and one weekend on-call duty every third weekend. During on-call duties, the doctor can be at home, or within 30 minutes travel of the hospital.
Amount of holidays
A doctor has 7 weeks of annual vacations each year, and there are about 8 days of national holidays each year (Christmas, Easter, etc. In addition, for each weekend duty, doctors can take two days free of work, and (with the agreement of the Director of the Hospital) these days can be “saved up”, to be used for extra weeks of holiday. The timing of holidays has to be agreed with the other doctors and the Director of the Hospital.
Salary, income tax, and pension
The income of a senior doctor employed by a hospital in the Faroe Islands is substantially higher than the average income in the Faroe Islands, and the doctor and family should therefore have a comfortable standard of living.
The doctor’s basic salary, brutto (before tax, etc) is 60,000 kroner per month. In addition, a doctor earns 1654 kroner for each weekday duty, and 2503 kroner for each weekend duty.
When the duties at the Hospital are being shared between three doctors, each doctor will be earning about 80,000 kroner per month (before tax, etc) in basic salary and payments for duties (depending on the number of duties).
In the Faroe Islands, the top rate of income tax is about 50%. It is our understanding that an EU doctor who becomes resident in the Faroe Islands, and who is therefore not resident in their own country, will only pay income tax in the Faroe Islands. It is our understanding that an EU doctor who lives and works in the Faroe Islands will not have to pay double-taxation, but we advise doctors to obtain information about this direct from the tax authorities in their own country.
In addition to the salary, the hospital pays 16.85% of the basic salary to the doctor’s individual medical pension fund.
Costs of living
The hospital has its own building with apartments. These apartments are suitable for one or two persons for short periods of time. If a larger place (house) is needed, this can be arranged. The rent of the apartments is currently 2500 kroner per month, including electricity and heating.
The cost of food is somewhat higher in the Faroe Islands than in other countries; we have recently carried out a direct comparison, which shows that the items which are home-grown in EU countries (such as meat, vegetables, and fruit) are significantly cheaper than in the Faroe Islands (approximately in proportion to the difference in income-levels), but items which are based on imported raw-materials (such as coffee, tea, rice, and orange juice) approximately the same price in other EU countries and the Faroe Islands.
It is simplest to describe the weather in the Faroe Islands as “mild all year round”. The summers in the Faroe Islands are cooler than in Poland, the winters are much warmer, and it is generally damper. The Faroe Islands are to the north of Europe, but it is wrong to think of the climate as being Arctic; it is the Atlantic Ocean and the warm Gulf Stream which dominate the weather in the Faroe Islands.
Primary and secondary education
There is good-quality primary and secondary education in the Klaksvík area. There is a local primary school and a secondary school (up to school-leaving-age). Primary and secondary education is free, paid for out of taxes.
Other questions about life and work on the Faroe Islands
How quickly can you get back to EU countries in case of urgency (such as urgent family problems)? Answer: in an emergency, it would normally be possible to travel to an EU country within a day.
Does the work schedule allow enough time for coming back to an EU country every three / four months for a couple of days? Answer: the amount of holidays is generous, and there would be plenty of time to go for a holiday.
Health insurance? Answer: most healthcare is provided free in the Faroe Islands (paid from taxes), and private healthcare insurance is not normally needed for people who are resident there, but medical insurance may be needed for the first few weeks of living there, and it will also be needed for travel outside the Faroe Islands.
Who organizes and pays for the Danish course during the preparatory time? Answer: the Hospital will pay for the Danish language-education, and this will be agreed in the Contract of Employment.
The airport is one hour away by car.
What flights are there from the Faroe Islands? Where do they fly to? How frequent are the flights? Answer: Atlantic Airways (www.atlantic.fo) flies from the Faroe Islands to several airports in Denmark (Copenhagen, Billund, and Aalborg), and also to Aberdeen and London in Great Britain. The most frequent flights are to Copenhagen (3 or 4 flights each day), and it is then possible to fly to other destinations from there.
What is the average cost of a flight from the Faroe Islands?
a/ Copenhagen? Answer: an economy return ticket costs approx. 2100 Danish Kroner (282 EURO) or more
b/ England? Answer: an economy return ticket costs approx. 3100 Danish Kroner (416 EURO) or more
c/ Warsaw? Answer: an economy return ticket costs approx. 3100 Danish Kroner (416 EURO) or more.
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