LISBON, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- The number of Portuguese dentists working abroad has doubled in the last ten years, in a country that already has nearly twice as many professionals compared with the World Health Organization (WHO)'s recommendations.
According to the study "Numbers of the Order" for 2017, sponsored by the Order of Dentists (OMD), Portugal, with a total population of some 10.29 million, last year reached a ratio of a dentist to 1,033 inhabitants, which is practically double what is recommended by WHO.
"It is noted that there is an increase in emigration. This has been going on for about 15 years, but has been accentuated in the period of economic crisis in 2008 and 2009," said Preisdent of OMD, Orlando Monteiro da Silva, in an interview published by Portuguese Lusa News Agency on Monday.
Britain, France, Switzerland and several countries in Scandinavia are those that attract Portuguese dentists, offering better salary and professional conditions.
According to data from the OMD, there are some 1,500 to 2,000 Portuguese dentists practicing abroad.
"On the other hand, in Portugal, it is difficult for dentists to find a job," said the president, stressing "an increasing difficulty in entering the labor market" in a profession that is essentially liberal and has little expression in the National Health Service.
In Portugal there are seven Faculties of Dental Medicine that every year put 500 to 600 professionals in the labor market.
"With around 10,000 active dentists and more than 2,000 foreign doctors, this number is clearly excessive for the needs of the country," said Orlando Monteiro da Silva, noting that it is important for candidates to Higher Education to know the reality of the profession.
The OMD insists on the need for the Government, together with the faculties, to reduce the number of people entering the dental medicine courses, adapting it to the demand and the needs of the country.
Based on the "Numbers of Order" study, the OMD estimates that as of next year there is a dentist to less than 1,000 inhabitants, while WHO recommendations set one dentist for every 2,000 inhabitants.