There are more doctors, nurses and women in Health, but more leaving hospitals

More doctors but less in hospitals

In 2020, there were 5.6 doctors in Portugal per 100 thousand inhabitants, 0.2 more per 1000 inhabitants than in 2019. An increasing trend that has been observed since 2004. Data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) released yesterday, within the scope of World Health Day, reveal that, in 2020, 57,198 professionals were registered with the Portuguese Medical Association, of which 55,094 on the mainland, 912 on the Azores and 1,202 on Madeira.

The regions of Alentejo. The Azores and Madeira have a number of professionals lower than the national average, respectively 3.2, 3.7 and 4.7 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants. However, when we compare these numbers with those of the European Union of 27, Portugal was the country that had the biggest increase in the number of professionals from 2014 to 2019: 18.9%, an average annual growth of around 3.5%, while in the EU-27 this increase was 8.3%, an increase of 1.6% per year. In these 20 years, the picture of the medical profession has also changed significantly. From 81.4 women per 100 men in 2000, it rose to 128.6 women per 100 men in 2020, above the average recorded in the EU-27, which is 103.8 women per 100 men.

INE data also reveal that 60% of professionals enrolled in the OM are specialists (34,836). The areas of General and Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine and Anesthesiology are preferred, although General and Family Medicine does not have even one doctor per 1000 inhabitants (0.9). In 2020, there was also a noticeable trend that has been worsening for 20 years, while in 2000, 58.2% of doctors enrolled in the OM worked in hospitals, in 2020 this percentage was 46%.

Hospitals added to the SNS were the ones that hired more nurses

The trend towards an increase in the number of nurses in our country has been consistent, around 2.9% per year since 2017. In 2020, 77,984 professionals were enrolled in the Ordem dos Enfermeiros, which represents 7.6 nurses per 1,000 inhabitants and an increase of 0.2 nurses per 1000 inhabitants compared to 2019, when there was a ratio of 7.4 nurses per 1000 inhabitants.

In relation to this class, the number of professionals per 1000 inhabitants is higher in the autonomous regions, with 9.3 and 9.4 nurses per 1000 inhabitants in the Azores and Madeira. As 20 years ago, women continue to represent more than 80% of professionals, with an increase of up to 1% in the female-male ratio compared to 2000 (461.3 to 465.1). Unlike doctors, the overwhelming majority of professionals perform generalist functions, 73.9%, only 26.1% are specialists. Of these, 22.1% have the specialty of rehabilitation and 21.8% medical-surgical.

Most nurses work in hospitals, 61.9%. In fact, hospitals added to the SNS, public or public-private partnership, were the ones that contributed most to the growth of employment in the class between 2015 and 2020 (78.1% of the overall increase). The contribution was even greater in 2020, around 91%.


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