Number of dentists working abroad doubles amid oversupply

By TPN/Lusa, in Business · 09-08-2018 11:40:00 · 0 Comments

The number of Portuguese dentists working abroad doubled in the last 10 years in a country which already has twice as many professionals than recommended by the World Health Organisation, according to a recent report by Portugal’s Dental Association.

Last year, Portugal reached a ratio of one dentist per 1,033 inhabitants. There are approximately between 1,500 and 2,000 Portuguese dentists practising their professions abroad, the report noted.
“We can see that there has been an increase in emigration. This has been happening for 15 years but it rose during the economic crisis, from 2008/2009,” Orlando Monteiro da Silva, President of the country’s Dental Association, told Lusa News Agency.
The United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and Scandinavian countries attract the most Portuguese dentists, offering the best salaries and employment conditions.
“On the other hand, in Portugal it is difficult for dentists to find jobs,” Monteiro da Silva pointed out.
There are seven dental schools in Portugal, with 500 to 600 professionals graduating every year. The country’s Dental Association has called for the government, along with universities to cut the number of people taking dentistry degrees to match the country’s demand.

Orlando Monteiro da Silva said applicants for universities should know more about the reality of each profession and noted that dental schools should invest more in post-graduate and specialised training programmes and in training professionals from other countries.
The number of foreign students already accounts for one-quarter of dentistry students in Portugal, and there is even a private university with more foreign students than Portuguese students enrolled. The association said this was due to international recognition of Portugal’s dentistry education.
From next year, there will be one dentist per at least a thousand inhabitants, according to the study. The international recommendation is one dentist per 2,000 inhabitants.
Regionally, however, the distribution of dentists is uneven. There is one dentist per 707 inhabitants in the metropolitan region of Porto, while in the rural region of lower Alentejo there is one dentist per 2,741 inhabitants.
The excessive number of dentists is the “scourge of the profession,” the association warned.


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