“Even if they don’t speak Portuguese”, guarantees Ordem dos Médicos
Ukrainian doctors are to be accepted for work into the Portuguese national health system (SNS).
The news could benefit not only incoming refugees, but Ukrainians with medical qualifications already living in Portugal.
Miguel Guimarães, president of the ‘Ordem dos Médicos’ (general medical council) explains that as long as the qualifications come from a Ukrainian university ‘recognised’ by a Portuguese university, acceptance should pose no problem – even if language initially is a barrier.
“The Ordem will find a solution for whoever doesn’t speak Portuguese. They could be integrated into the SNS in the quality of a doctor without autonomy, under the auspices of a doctor who helps in establishing communication. We already have a ‘statute’ for this underway within the Ordem, to be renewable every three to six months” he told Correio da Manhã.
The State will have to work out the logistics, he admitted – ensuring the Ukrainian doctors receive the salary of a doctor under general training (an intern). But he said he is “convinced” that any doctors admitted under this protocol would “rapidly learn to speak Portuguese”.
As anyone who has had any interaction with Ukrainian nationals already living in Portugal will be aware, they have an enormous capacity for learning the Portuguese language; children particularly.
Right now, only two women doctors have approached the SNS in the hope that they can (continue) practising their profession now that they are living in Portugal.
Mr Guimarães said his profession “expects more” but doesn’t believe there will be a flood of qualified doctors.
Whatever the case, Portugal has been labouring under a shortage of doctors for more years than most people can remember: new, ready-qualified, intake will almost certainly be welcomed – particularly as the country is accepting so many Ukrainian refugees, many of which may require medical treatment during their time in Portugal.