The Ministry of Health will open more than 900 vacancies for young family doctors, while the Groups of Health Centers with the greatest need will pay 40% more to attract professionals in short supply.
The competition is due to open in April, with the 900 vacancies covering “all places in the country where there is a lack of a family doctor”.
These and other news were announced by the Minister of Health, at the interview published today in the newspaper Público.
Manuel Pizarro adds that «the most important structural measure» to try to solve the problem of the lack of family doctors is to increase the training of these professionals, with 507 starting their training in January.
The government official also highlighted the need to «expand the Family Health Units [USF], especially those with remuneration associated with performance — the USF model B».
Explaining the measures, the minister added, in his interview with Público, that “there will be shortages. That is, vacancies with remuneration increased by about 40% only for ACES [Health Center Groups] where there are more than 25% of users without a family doctor».
Pizarro also announced a new model that implies a commitment to mobility on the part of the doctor.
«We will create a new model, still limited in number – only 20 vacancies, because we have to try it out to see how it works –, in which young doctors will compete for a vacancy in an ACES in the North, but with the commitment to be mobile until on the 1st of January 2026 in one of the most needy Aces in Lisbon and the Tagus Valley».
On the lack of attractiveness of the National Health Service for young doctors, the Minister of Health argues that «despite everything, we attract between 60 and 70% of the doctors we train».
He even gives the example of the competition opened this year for those who finished the General and Family Medicine specialty in the second season of last year (108 had finished), in which 137 were recruited.
As for the possibility of hospitals hiring professionals directly, Pizarro said that the orientation «return to the SNS what existed for decades, which is hiring through institutional tenders».
With regard to midwifery, a specialty where the lack of professionals has led to the temporary closure of maternity hospitals, namely in the Algarve, Manuel Pizarro adds that training has been expanded, adding that in January, 54 doctors entered the internship, which is " the highest number since 2011». He points out that the Government is working with the Order of Doctors to create conditions to extend this internship.
On the rotating operation of maternity hospitals and questioned about whether it will remain like this and for how long, Manuel Pizarro said that a plan will be drawn up for the summer season, reproducing what has happened so far.
«In the long term, what I would like is for all maternity hospitals to work every day of the year. But as there are no resources to make this possible, my obligation is – this work has been done with great competence by the SNS executive board – to ensure quality and safety in the sites that are open and predictability for people to know which sites they should go to », explained the ruler.
As for the possibility of fetching doctors abroad, the Minister of Health admitted that "it is always on the table".
«If it is really necessary, I think it is much more favorable for the SNS to do it for a limited period of time than to let the market deal with it. Our priority is to train, attract and retain young Portuguese professionals. Now, when it is not possible, during transitional periods, I accept that we can hire doctors abroad».