Portugal contracted 42 additional Colombian medical doctors due to a shortage of general and family practitioners in the country. Portugal has also a deficit in specialists, namely anesthetists, obstetricians and pediatricians.
The candidates were selected from a group of more than 300 applicants in Bogota, and were required to learn Portuguese.
According to official figures, in 2010 foreigners doctors in Portugal represented 9.3 percent of a total of 42,031 medical practitioners nationwide.
Data from Ordem dos Médicos (OM) — the Portuguese Medical Association — show that in 2008 there were 39,473 licensed medical doctors in Portugal, from which 3,736 were foreign.
In 2009 of a total of 40,664 licensed doctors, 3,842 were foreign practitioners. In 2010 of 42,031 licensed doctors, 3,937 were foreign.
The majority of foreign doctors working in Portugal currently are from the European Union, namely Spain. In 2008 there were 2,355 Spanish doctors working in Portugal, and in 2010 they were 2,426.
The number of Brazilian doctors working in Portugal has also increased from 562 in 2008 to 621 in 2009 and 657 in 2010.
The high standards required by the Portuguese medical schools for acceptance and the number of Portuguese students going abroad to study medicine are forcing the Government to import doctors.
Medical training in Portugal takes a total of six years, after which students must serve as interns before becoming registered. The Ordem dos Medicos — Portuguese Medical Association — oversees the training and registration of doctors.