DECO informs…I heard about a new ruling from the health regulatory authority (ERS) – are healthcare users more protected now?

ERS learned that some cases of acute illness were not dealt with on the day patients sought medical care from some health centres and hospitals.
Many health establishments also failed to register the status of medical appointments, as they are obliged to do.
ERS also found out that some health units have failed to provide easy health care access for everyone.
In light of these anomalies, ERS implemented a ruling that forces health units to guarantee shorter waiting periods for patients.
Implementing a system which ensures that triage is based on clinical criteria and which differentiates the cause of the illness, and banishing procedures which limit the number of non-scheduled appointments for acute illnesses allowed at these establishments, are some of the changes that these health units must put into practice.
Therefore, if any health centre refuses to see a patient with an acute illness on the same day the patient seeks medical care, or if it does not schedule an appointment with the patient’s family doctor in the following 15 working days after the request, the patient should present a formal complaint in the complaint book or on the ERS’ website (
Health units which fail to abide by this new ruling may incur in a fine of between €1,000 and €45,000.
In this column, Portuguese consumer watchdog DECO informs readers of various interesting issues and laws affecting consumer decisions. 289 863 103 | [email protected]