Among the 18835 physicians working for the National Health Service. Around 10,000 are over 50-years-old.
The data was revealed by an annual report done jointly by the Ministry of Health and the NHS, which highlighted factors that point to an aging medical class that doesn’t seem to be giving up their medical duties anytime soon. More than eight thousand of the total are over 55-years-old, the age most doctors tend to give up emergency medical services.
The document warns of a reality consistent with the country’s aging as a whole: there are almost 1,000 doctors aged 63 and above, the vast majority of which are women (60.6%).
“These numbers are very worrying. When these doctors retire within a few years, this will have a huge impact on the NHS, which is not attractive to younger doctors,” Carlos Cortes, president of the regional section of the Order of Doctors.
Cortes, looking back over the past few decades, explained what happened: “When I first went to medical school more than 20 years ago, no one would consider not working in the NHS after medical school. That isn’t the case today. There is a huge lack of attractiveness, which does not necessarily mean that much better conditions are offered in the private sector. But people leave because of dissatisfaction, because today a doctor spends much more time dealing with paperwork and a lack of human resources than practicing medicine. “
Doctor António Branco revealed that he, amongst many other doctors, is struggling with this issue. The 66-year-old doctor who works at the Family Health Unit of Santa Maria, in Tomar, has worked tirelessly within the NHS, with relevant emphasis on the creation of family health units.
“I have 45 years of service. I think the time has come to retire. Besides, the last few years have been agonizing, and especially the last one has been a great exhaustion. There are changes all the time, it just isn’t sustainable “, says the family health doctor.
“The only option we have is to create more appeal for young doctors. If we don’t do that, in a few years the consequences will be drastic” he concluded.