Migration of Junior Doctors: The Case of Psychiatric Trainees in Portugal


  • Mariana Pinto da Costa Psychiatry Department. Hospital de Magalhães Lemos. Porto. Portugal. Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar. University of Porto. Porto. Portugal. Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry (WHO Collaborating Centre for Mental Health Services Development). Queen Mary University of London. London.
  • Cátia Moreira Psychiatry Department. Centro Hospitalar Psiquiátrico de Lisboa. Lisboa.
  • Luis F. S. Castro-de-Araujo Centre of Data and Knowledge Integration for Health (CIDACS). Instituto Gonçalo Muniz. Fundação Osvaldo Cruz. Salvador. Brazil. Department of Psychiatry. The University of Melbourne. Victoria.
  • Fábio Monteiro da Silva Psychiatry Department. Hospital de Magalhães Lemos. Porto.
  • Renato Antunes dos Santos Department of Psychiatry. Douglas Mental Health University Institute. McGill University. Montréal.




Emigration and Immigration, Internship and Residency, Job Satisfaction, Motivation, Physicians, Portugal, Psychiatry, Workplace


Introduction: In the last few decades, the rates of international medical migration have continuously risen. In Psychiatry, there is great disparity in the workforce between high and low-income countries. Yet, little is known about the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors and the migratory intentions of trainees. This study aims to assess the factors impacting the decisions of psychiatric trainees in Portugal towards migration.
Material and Methods: A questionnaire was developed in the Brain Drain study and was distributed to psychiatric trainees in Portugal.
Results: The sample consists of 104 psychiatric trainees (60.6% female). Overall, 40.4% of the trainees had prior experience of living abroad and the majority (96.9%) felt that this experience influenced their attitude towards migration in a positive way. About 75% of trainees had ‘ever’ considered leaving the country, but the majority (70.0%) had not taken any ‘practical steps’ towards migration. The main reasons to stay in Portugal were personal, while the main reason to leave was financial. The majority of the trainees (55.7%) were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their income, working conditions and academic opportunities.
Discussion: Working conditions, salaries and academic opportunities are the main triggers for the migration of psychiatric trainees from Portugal.
Conclusion: These results may inform the decisions of stakeholders in the health and education sectors and point out the necessary investments required and the impact it may have on the workforce.


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How to Cite

Pinto da Costa M, Moreira C, Castro-de-Araujo LFS, da Silva FM, dos Santos RA. Migration of Junior Doctors: The Case of Psychiatric Trainees in Portugal. Acta Med Port [Internet]. 2021 Jun. 30 [cited 2024 Mar. 1];34(7-8):533-40. Available from: https://www.actamedicaportuguesa.com/revista/index.php/amp/article/view/12562