1.3 million still without family GP in Portugal

Flying in the face of government promises, there are still 1.3 million people in Portugal who do not have a family doctor.

When the PSD/CDS-PP government took office, it pledged that every Portuguese citizen would have a GP by the time its term in office came to an end.

In other words, 1.3 million people have to be placed on doctors’ rosters in the next few months.

This is the general outline of a report published yesterday by Jornal de Notícias, based on data from the Central Administration for the Health System (ACSS).

The lack of GPs is at its worst in the areas of Lisbon/Vale do Tejo (where 22% of the population don’t have a GP) and the Algarve (32.4%).

But while the number of people without a GP has been dropping – in 2012 the number was placed at 1.6 million with a family doctor – the problem is that it is “too little, too slow”.

The president of the family health units association (USF-AN) Bernardo Vilas Boas claims there are “permanent delays” in opening vacancies for doctors as well as in placing them, and that the government could “invest more in the reform of primary health care and implement measures to avoid early retirements”.