UEMO’s letter of support to Portugal

08/09/2022 News UEMO 198 Views
UEMO’s letter of support to Portugal

Letter of support to Portugal

”Due to the shortage of family physicians in Portugal working in the public healthcare system, the Portuguese Government has recently passed legislation that will enable nonspecialist physicians to sign permanent contracts with the Ministry of Health in order to carry out similar work as family physicians. This includes taking responsibility for a list of up to 1900 patients. UEMO expresses grave concerns about this decision, which it sees as a major blow to the specialty of family medicine in Portugal, which has been recognized for several decades. It also seems disrespectful to all the former and current family medicine trainees, who undergo an extremely rigorous four-year residency program in order to become competent family physicians. UEMO also considers that such aforementioned measures are not the right way to solve the widespread shortages of healthcare professionals, namely of family physicians. In fact, the signs are all there. Family physicians as well as physicians from other specialties are leaving the public healthcare system to work in the private sector and in other countries. In the latest recruitment round of newly qualified specialists in family medicine, over a third of permanent positions were not filled, including about half of the positions in the Lisbon region. The Portuguese Government is failing to carry out much needed profound structural reforms to the healthcare system which necessarily must include an improvement of the working conditions and remuneration of family physicians and physicians from other specialties. Moreover, dumbing down the specialty of family medicine may actually put patients at risk through the deployment of less qualified physicians who have only completed one year of general training after medical school and which is required for full registration and be able to carry out independent practice in Portugal. Family medicine is an extremely demanding field of medicine and long gone are the days where it was seen as something any physician could do. UEMO will continue to advocate for high training and professional standards of family physicians and for the recognition of the specialty of family medicine across Europe”.

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