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Denmark announced funding to speed up processing times for authorising the qualifications of foreign health professionals. But how long do authorisations actually take, and why is the process so slow?

With Covid-19 case counts and hospitalisations on the climb, Danish healthcare workers have issued a call for reinforcements from foreign doctors and nurses.

But there are hundreds to thousands of qualified healthcare professionals already in Denmark, unable to practise due to long waiting times for the Danish Patient Safety Authority (Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed, STPS) to certify their qualifications.

On Sunday, political parties agreed on a “winter package” for next year’s budget that includes 11.3 million kroner in 2022 and 11.8 million in 2023 to bring the processing times down.

This is a dramatic step up from the figure of 1.5 million kroner proposed by health minister Magnus Heunicke on November 23rd.

“We think it is reasonable that there are language requirements, and it must be determined whether they are skilled enough to be doctors in Denmark, but it makes no sense that people should wait for one to two years to get their case decided,” Andreas Steenberg, finance spokesperson for the Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre), one of the parties behind the budget, told news agency Ritzau in early December.