The Spanish Society of Internal Medicine (SEMI) considers that the call for MIR 2023 vacancies for Internal Medicine, published in the Official State Gazette on September 2, is not sufficient to respond to the need for professionals in the specialty or to solve the lack of generational replacement of internists accused by the National Health System (SNS).
In this call, 413 places are offered for the training of specialists in Internal Medicine throughout the country.
Despite the fact that this offer of places is greater than in the previous call (401 in 2022), “this number of new doctors who will be trained in the specialty would be insufficient,” denounces the SEMI.
According to one of the latest studies available on the shortage of physicians, prepared jointly by the State Confederation of Medical Unions (CESM) and the Collegiate Medical Organization (OMC), in 2030 around 70,000 doctors will have retired from the SNS, a number higher than the MIR vacancies that are convened annually, without taking into account other types of casualties such as departures abroad or dedication to exercise in the private sector.
In the case of Internal Medicine, the challenge of generational change is not alien to the specialty. According to Dr. Jesús Díez Manglano, president of SEMI, “At this rate, we will not be able to cover the needs of professionals that our specialty will have in the immediate future.”
“The training of new health professionals must be a priority at all levels in order to solve the challenge posed by the generational change of specialists and, particularly, of internists in the SNS”, he adds.
In addition to the challenge of generational change, today’s society is increasingly long-lived, increasing the frequency of visits to hospitals by elderly people who generally have different chronic pathologies and comorbidities.
In this sense, it is worth highlighting the multidisciplinary and comprehensive vision of the patient that defines the work of the internist, key in the management of chronic, complex and/or multi-pathological patients.
Currently, internists carry out their activity in new care areas such as Home Hospitalization, Care Continuity Units and Day Hospitals; as well as in the Short Stay Units, the Palliative Care Units, the emergency services, and the Infectious Diseases Units.
In addition, more and more hospitals have Shared Care Units for surgical, psychiatric and oncological patients coordinated by internists. “With the number of internists currently being trained, it will be difficult to continue with these services in the near future,” warns Dr. Díez Manglano.
From SEMI they recall the important role that internists have played during the pandemic: “During this time, they have coordinated and led multidisciplinary COVID-19 teams, caring for eight out of 10 non-critical hospitalized patients in Spanish hospitals, hand in hand with other specialties and levels of care.
“Public administrations and scientific societies must work together to find the tools that provide solutions to the challenges that arise in the SNS. For this, it is key to have the opinion of the specialists to know their demands in order to achieve, together, build an increasingly better SNS for both professionals and patients”, concludes the president of the SEMI.