Clear bill of health for the ARS

THE DECISION to give greater power and autonomy to the Regional Health Authorities (ARS) has been welcomed by the health sector.

Changes to the Organic Law of the Health Ministry mean that regional health authorities are now considered to be public institutions. Regional director for ARS Algarve, Rui Lourenço, said the roles of organisations within the health sector have also been made clearer.

Many responsibilities, which should have been under the jurisdiction of medical centres, were previously undertaken by ARS Algarve.

Lourenço said the reshuffle means that ARS Algarve can now concentrate on organising a plan for healthcare in the region.

The decentralisation of the health network in Portugal appears to have brought local entities closer and many people hope that this will resolve the poor communication issues, which have proved detrimental to the health sector in the past.

Financing, however, will remain in the hands of the central administration. Lourenço is confident that the new system, with some adjustments, will work well.

The new structure will be composed of a mix of permanent staff and contracted medical workers, who will be obliged to sign a General Work Contract.

“What we have is more possibilities for regionalising ideology and a more global vision,” said Lourenço.

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