Although there is, for now, no official explanation for this drop, a source from the ACSS told JN that the departure of foreign doctors could be due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the clinicians probably having returned to their country of origin.
The last known numbers are from September 2022 and indicate that, at that time, there were 1,289 foreign doctors working in the SNS in Portugal, mainly Spanish, Ukrainian, and Brazilian. About half work in hospitals (844), 443 in Primary Health Care, and two in Central Services. But in 2019, there were 1,840 foreign doctors working in Portugal, 551 more than currently. The number dropped abruptly in 2020 and, since then, according to the data provided to the JN, it has begun to rise gradually: in 2021, 1,263 foreign doctors were registered and, in September 2022, the aforementioned 1,289.