Denmark – Doctors

Den lille Havfrue, LangelinieIntroduction

Public healthcare in Denmark is provided by general practitioners, practicing specialists and hospitals, which employ over two thirds of the country’s health professionals including more than 12,000 physicians. Since the country has been short of medical specialists, the government recently introduced rules to speed up the specialization of graduated doctors. There are many foreign doctors working in Denmark, especially from Germany. More qualified immigrants are welcome to join the Danish healthcare services, as evidenced by the comprehensive information for professionals from abroad provided on the website of the Danish Health and Medicines Authority.

How to become a doctor

Medical studies (6 years) are offered at the Universities of Southern Denmark (Odense), Copenhagen, Aarhus and Aalborg. Graduated doctors then do a basic clinical training (‘klinisk basis uddannelse’, ‘KBU’) of 12 months, which is a prerequisite for postgraduate medical specialist training (5-6 years). There are 38 different specialties to choose from. To fill the increasing gap of medical specialists, a recent legislative change forces young doctors to apply for specialist training in Denmark within four years from the start of KBU. Almost all medical doctors authorised to practice in Denmark are members of the Danish Medical Association.

Hurdles to take for foreigners

Danish language skills are necessary to practice medicine in the country. A list of language schools can be found here. Doctors with a foreign degree must obtain a Danish authorisation to be able to practise medicine in Denmark, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands. According to the Danish Health and Medicines Authority (previously known as the ‘National Board of Health’),  which as the supreme authority in healthcare is in charge of authorisation of medical doctors in Denmark, applicants are divided in four groups:

  1. Foreign trained doctors already holding Danish registration applying only for registration as a specialist (only specialist training from a Nordic or EU country) – To learn more, click here.
  2. Nordic doctors applying for Danish authorization, permission to work independently (and specialist title) – To learn more, click here.
  3. EU doctors applying for Danish authorization, permission to work independently (and specialist title). Medical degrees and specialist titles obtained in other EU countries are subject to automatic recognition under Directive 2005/36/EC. – To learn more, click here.
  4. Third country doctors (trained outside the EEA) – To learn more, click here.

In order to apply for a residence permit, the Danish immigration Service (Udlændingestyrelsen) or foreign Danish Embassy or Consulate should be contacted.

Where to get further info / support