Algarve health boss João Moura Reis has said he wants to end the region’s chronic shortage of doctors in the next six years “at the most”.
According to regional health administration ARS Algarve, Portimão and Faro hospitals alone are in need of around 100 doctors while regional health centres lack 64.
In a bid to finally solve this issue – one of the Algarve’s hot topics in recent years – Moura Reis told Lusa news agency that ARS is trying to hire doctors from different specialties and backgrounds.
He said that he would have set a lower deadline to end the shortage, but that he wanted to play it safe as the number of trained specialists entering the work market “varies from year to year”.
Besides hiring them just out of medical school, ARS is also trying to attract doctors from other areas of Portugal or through temporary work agencies as well as rehire doctors who had already retired.
Moura Reis said tenders have also been launched to hire specialists such as “orthopaedists, anaesthetists, paediatricians, obstetricians and gynaecologists”.
ARS Algarve also plans to hire 30 GPs this year and another 36 in 2017 to “guarantee that every Algarve citizen has access to a family doctor”.
Moura Reis hopes that as there are not many vacancies left in other parts of the country, doctors will choose the Algarve as their working place “as many nurses and health technicians already do”.
For now, a new partnership with a northern hospital will see teams of two orthopaedists and an anaesthetist travelling down to the Algarve to provide medical appointments at Portimão and Faro and surgeries in Faro.
By MICHAEL BRUXO [email protected]
Photo: SARA ALVES/OPEN MEDIA GROUP