Spain: There is a shortage of residents to fill vacant positions as family medicine specialists

Spain faces a gap in the number of medical residents to cover the specialty of family physicians. According to the latest official data. This year, 246 available positions for primary care doctors left without an owner could not be filled compared to 131 vacancies in 2023 after a so-called last-minute “playoff.”

Through this “playoff”, an unusual invitation from the Spanish Ministry of Health, the aim was to fill the so-called MIR positions of resident internist. With this call, 227 vacant positions were granted. 213, most of which belong to the specialty of family medicine; 12 for preventive medicine and public health and two for occupational medicine.

The call has reduced the high number of vacancies but the result is still a record: 246 primary care places remain unfilled.

The family medicine specialty is the largest in terms of number of places. This year it offered 2,492, of which 90% were covered. That's by saying, One in ten of those on offer are left without a doctor in training. In the short term, this situation leaves health centers without trainees. But in the middle, that is, in the next five years, it will affect the expected generational change in healthcare, highlights María José Gamero, from the Spanish Association of Primary Care Physicians. There are 246 new specialists who will never exist because system resources will not be used to train them.

3,460 people were invited to the session to distribute these places, according to official data from the Ministry of Health. Of these, only 250 people processed their requests, i.e. 7% of those contacted. The majority, 228, belong to the quota of doctors from outside the European Union.

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Job openings in 10 communities

The abandoned squares are distributed across ten autonomous communities. Health Report displays details of job vacancies in Andalusia (39), Aragon (17), Castile and Leon (47), Catalonia (22), Extremadura (49), Galicia (42), Balearic Islands (10), La Rioja (9), Navarra (7) and Asturias (4) . Among the spots most affected was Miranda de Ebro, which was offered 11 places but none were granted. Or Syria, with 11 vacancies out of 15 on offer.

“If we do the same thing, we will naturally get the same result. Or worse, as happened,” criticized the president of the Spanish Society of General Practitioners and Family Physicians (SEMG), who feels that what is examined every year “is the specialty.” “This tension is unfair because this does not mean the failure of family medicine, but rather the failure of the health and distribution system to reach the different specialties,” says Pilar Rodríguez Ledo.

The medical associations that bring together specialists in this field confirm that 2,246 people chose family and community medicine, compared to 508 who chose pediatrics or 124 who chose dermatology. The difference in offer compared to other specialties is minimal because the system is based on a primary care basis; On health centers and dispensaries spread throughout the national territory.

With this exceptional invitation, MIR 2024 was concluded, which concluded with 8,522 places awarded, 97% of the places offered. Starting in May, 8,522 specialists will begin their five-year training in hospitals and health centers across Spain.

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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