Latin American doctors in Spain ask to expedite the homologation of titles

Homologating the title of general medicine is the main requirement for the thousands of Latin American doctors who reside in Spain and want to practice their profession. However, for many of these professionals, validating their studies has become quite an odyssey.

Cecy Subieta is originally from Bolivia, but studied medicine in Argentina, where she specialized in pediatrics. In 2021 she emigrated to Barcelona and in July of that year she began the process to validate her studies. Almost a year and a half has passed since the young woman began the bureaucratic procedures and she still has not managed to approve her titles, a situation that causes her “impotence” and “sadness” in equal parts:

“You say, ‘I could really help,’ because that’s what we all came for; We came to help, not to hang on to any plan, or collect any unemployment, or collect any public aid. We came to work, which is what we have done (during) the 13 years of training, at least that I have in my case, but there are people who have much more, ”she explains to the voice of america.

But the case of Subieta is not isolated. From the Association of Venezuelan Physicians in Spain (AMEVESP) they denounce that there are around 1,100 Venezuelan doctors waiting for the Ministry of Universities to approve their degree in general medicine, a process that according to the organization has a delay of 24 months:

“This means that we have doctors who cannot work in their training, but rather have to be working, for example, riders. There are many cases of doctors who work in other people’s jobs for which they have been prepared and trained, which is an underutilization of highly qualified personnel”, says Giovanni Provenza, a Venezuelan doctor and director of AMEVESP, from Madrid.

On the other hand, the Organization of Argentine Health Professionals in Spain (APSAE) points out that despite the fact that the governments of Spain and Argentina have an agreement regarding the recognition of university degrees, some doctors have been waiting for more than two years for the homologation .

“It is not merely a question of a procedure, but rather it has to do with people’s lives, with the professional development of people and with returning to the place where one has emigrated, returning professional capacity,” says Gonzalo Szybut, executive director of APSAE, who also points out that the bureaucratic process should have a maximum duration of 6 months.

Recognition of specialties:

On the other hand, Provenza points out that, although doctors manage to certify their general medicine degree, in 95% of cases, the Ministry of Health does not recognize medical specialties:

“That is what makes the vast majority of doctors work as general practitioners, both in private healthcare or even in public healthcare, in areas further away from the capitals, which is where there is the greatest need for service”

Precisely because of the lack of specialists, some professionals perform specialist medical functions without having a recognized degree, points out the Venezuelan doctor Ana Graciela Angulo, based in Barcelona and president of the management committee of the section of doctors with extra-community training of the Official College of Doctors of Barcelona:

“Many of the conditions, or bonuses, or benefits that you could have as a specialist, you don’t have. But you are doing the same specialist functions”.

Dr. Angulo graduated as a specialist in pediatrics and dermatology at the Central University of Venezuela (UCV). Despite the fact that the Spanish National Health System has a shortage of 1,300 pediatricians, according to data from the Primary Care Forum, due to bureaucratic procedures, doctors like Angulo cannot perform specialist functions in their entirety.

The Council of Ministers recently approved a Royal Decree through which it is intended to expedite the procedures to standardize university degrees obtained abroad.

“Currently there are 2 procedures that make up the bulk of the requests from foreign graduates that arrive in Spain every year: the homologation and the declaration of equivalence of foreign degrees. The new RD will make both procedures characterized by their efficiency and agility. To this end, they are provided with a more agile organizational design, which means the simplification of procedures, accompanied by the intensive use of digital technologies. This will make it easier for the resolution time to not exceed six months,” said the Ministry of Universities in a statement dated October 18.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Health announced the call for theoretical and practical tests with the aim of recognizing specialist titles obtained outside the European Union.

Increase of Latin American doctors:

Due to the increase in immigration, there are more and more foreign doctors in Spain. According to the National Health System (SNS), in 2021 more than 4,200 doctors from other countries registered with the SNS, which represents an increase of 6.3% compared to the previous year.

Medical colleges such as the one in Barcelona point out that the majority of health workers who studied outside the European Union come from Latin America. According to the last balance of the institution, carried out in 2021, of the 8,721 registered doctors who studied abroad, 7,047 come from Latin America; Especially from Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and Argentina.

Precisely because of this increase in the number of professionals of non-EU origin, the Official College of Physicians of Barcelona has created a section aimed at these professionals with the aim of supporting them in the process of equivalency of titles and in job placement.

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