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Portugal – Health Service

Portugal’s healthcare system provides comprehensive coverage, including preventative care, primary care, and specialized care. In this article, we will explore the standard of healthcare in Portugal, how healthcare is paid for, the services provided by hospitals, follow-up care, and rules regarding medical treatment of foreign visitors.

Standard of Healthcare

Portugal’s healthcare system is considered to be of a high standard, with a focus on improving healthcare outcomes for its population. According to the World Health Organization’s 2020 World Health Statistics, Portugal ranked 27th out of 195 countries in terms of overall health system performance.

The country has a mixture of public and private healthcare providers, with varying levels of resources and expertise.

Healthcare Payment System

The healthcare system in Portugal is largely funded by the government, with healthcare services provided free of charge or at a low cost to citizens and residents. Private health insurance is available in Portugal, but it is not necessary for access to healthcare services. Private insurance may provide access to additional services, such as private hospital rooms, faster access to specialist care, or elective surgery.

Services provided by hospitals

Portugal’s hospitals provide a range of medical services, including emergency care, surgery, and specialized care. The country’s hospitals are designed to provide patient-centered care, with an emphasis on creating a supportive environment for patients and their families.

Family members are not expected to provide care for patients while they are in the hospital. Instead, hospitals provide a range of support services to patients and their families, including social work, counseling, and education about the patient’s condition and treatment options.


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In addition to medical services, hospitals in Portugal also provide spiritual and emotional support to patients and their families, with chaplains and counselors available to offer guidance and comfort.

Follow-up Care

Follow-up care is an essential part of the healthcare system in Portugal. After a patient has been discharged from the hospital, they are typically referred to their primary care provider, who is responsible for coordinating their ongoing care.

Primary care providers in Portugal are often general practitioners (GPs), who provide a range of medical services, including preventive care, diagnosis, and treatment of common health problems. In some cases, patients may be referred to a specialist for further treatment or testing.

In addition to primary care, patients may receive follow-up care from other healthcare providers, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and mental health professionals. The goal of follow-up care is to ensure that patients receive the best possible care and support throughout their recovery.

Medical Treatment of Foreign Visitors

Foreign visitors to Portugal are generally not entitled to publicly funded healthcare services. Visitors are required to purchase travel insurance to cover the cost of medical treatment while in Portugal.

It is important to note that some travel insurance policies may exclude coverage for pre-existing medical conditions or certain types of medical treatment. Visitors should check the terms and conditions of their travel insurance policy carefully before traveling to Portugal.

In some cases, visitors may need to pay for medical treatment upfront and then claim reimbursement from their insurance provider later. It is important to keep all receipts and documentation related to medical treatment, as these may be needed to make a claim.

Portugal’s healthcare system is considered to be of a high standard, with a focus on improving healthcare outcomes for its population. The country’s hospitals provide a range of medical services, and family members are not expected to provide care for patients while they are in the hospital. Follow-up care is an essential part of the healthcare system, with patients typically referred to their primary care provider after being discharged from the hospital.

While foreign visitors may need to purchase travel insurance to cover the cost of medical treatment, hospitals in Portugal provide care and support to all those who require it. The country’s healthcare system is largely publicly funded, with healthcare services provided free of charge or at a low cost to citizens and residents. Private health insurance is available in Portugal, but it is not necessary for access to healthcare services.

Overall, Portugal’s healthcare system is working to improve healthcare outcomes for its population. The country’s healthcare providers work together to ensure that patients receive the best possible care, and hospitals in Portugal are known for their patient-centered approach to healthcare. Despite the challenges, the healthcare system in Portugal is making strides to expand access to care and improve healthcare outcomes for all its citizens and residents.


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