Reality of the Public Health System in Portugal

he public health system in Portugal is a controversial topic that interests many foreign clients - c1 broker

The public health system in Portugal is a controversial topic that interests many foreign clients. Some wonder about the state of health care in the country and whether there may be problems or deficits. Nevertheless, there seems to be a kind of silence abroad about the state of the public health system. This is probably because, on the one hand, it is in the country’s interest to attract people to Portugal, but on the other hand, people with a higher economic capacity are able to take out private health insurance and thus gain access to private hospitals, clinics and specialists. However, it is undeniable that the facilities in the private system are among the best in Europe. Those who can afford this system therefore have little incentive to use health care in the public system.


Portugal is a country of unique beauty that can provide the perfect backdrop for a fresh start. But before deciding to live here, one should face some important realities. First and foremost is the state of the health system. While public care is cheap, there is often a lack of resources and staff, resulting in long waiting times and a limited number of available specialists. Private insurance can be a solution to access better health services. People with financial means should therefore be encouraged to opt for private insurance.


Portugal’s public health system is currently in a chaotic state. In recent weeks and months, numerous headlines about scandals and malpractices have appeared in the national and regional media, pointing to a shockingly poor organisation and implementation of the health system. The reality is alarming and is causing increasing concern among Portuguese citizens who depend on reliable and quality health care. It remains to be seen if and when the situation will improve and the health system in Portugal can be put back on track.


This year, news reports were published about the chaotic health system in Portugal. These reports reflect the reality of people using the public health system. They also give insight into the situation of medical staff, including doctors, nurses and technicians. It is disturbing to hear that medical staff have signed formal apologies regarding inadequate working conditions. This unprecedented situation highlights the difficulties and challenges that the Portuguese health system is currently going through.



– Long waiting times in the emergency rooms of public hospitals

– Deaths in the emergency department due to inadequate care

– Long waiting lists for specialist appointments and operations

– Hospitals without structural requirements

– Hundreds of doctors, nurses and pharmacists filing “disclaimers” due to lack of requirements

– Currently 70,000 people in Portugal do not have a GP

– Emergency rooms in Portugal are overcrowded and waiting times for people with yellow bracelets are between 6 and 12 hours.

– GPs in health centres are poorly paid, leading to dissatisfaction and the migration of specialists to private practices;

– GPs are being forced by the government to limit the number of tests and diagnoses as well as the number of prescriptions for reimbursable medicines.


Here is a collection of news links, grouped by theme, on the state of public health in Portugal:


Elderly man dies due to lack of emergency care  



Emergency rooms with waits of several hours for urgent patients  


Death of a Pregnant Woman 



Strikes in the Public Health System in Portugal


Doctors’ strikes 


Nurses strikes 


Strikes at Inem 


Hospital strikes 




The situation at Faro Hospital 





– Doctors present “disclaimer” 


– Pharmacists present “disclaimer”  


– Nurses present “disclaimer” 




Waiting lists


– Waiting lists for transplants 


– Waiting lists to see specialists 


– Waiting lists for Surgery 


– Waiting lists for hospitalisations 



Pregnant women diverted from the public to the private sector due to lack of doctors 



Lack of funds to support the NHS 



Hospitals closed due to lack of doctors 



Doctors being pushed out of the NHS 



Chaos in the emergency room 



Portuguese without family doctors 



Pregnant woman dies because there is no obstetrician–e-que-originou-demissao-de-Marta-Temido–fa527b26 



Patients have to sleep at hospital doors to get to appointments  



Portuguese pay the most for healthcare in Europe 



Situation at Portimão Hospital 



No paediatric emergency room in Portimão due to lack of doctors 





Death in Évora 



Maternity hospitals close due to poor conditions 



Opinion articles 





Emergency room closures 



Doctors resign over poor conditions in hospitals 



Audio / Podcasts–611628d9 




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he public health system in Portugal is a controversial topic that interests many foreign clients - c1 broker

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