National health patients win right to choose where they are treated

Bit by bit over the coming month, SNS (national health) patients waiting for a first consultation for any speciality can opt to choose a State hospital where the speciality exists. Just as the government promised, Portugal’s new health shake-up means to fix the geographical blips that have seen thousands of people effectively stranded, waiting months to be seen by specialists who visit their areas periodically.

Part of the Sistema Integrado de Gestão do Acesso no SNS (integrated system managing access to the SNS, anyone wishing to find out more, should either get information first hand from their health centre or consult the SNS portal.

According to news stories, the plan involves ‘articulation with one’s family doctor’ who will give patients information on the geographical proximity of the hospital best suited to their requirements, along with details of the length of waiting lists, “in order to find the best solution for health problems”.

“When it comes to surgical specialities, what is hoped is that patients will get information not only on the time it takes to get an appointment, but also on the time likely to have to wait for a hypothetical operation”, president of the SNS central administrative council Marta Temido told Rádio Renascença.

SNS own communique, published on says a circular on how the new system works will be arriving in all SNS institutions within the coming week.

Signed by secretary of state for health Manuel Delgado, the official diploma was published today in Diário da República.

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