Every citizen in Olhão now has a family doctor
“An example to be replicated throughout the rest of the country” – this is how Portugal’s Minister of Health has described Olhão, which became on October 1 the first municipality in the Algarve to provide a family doctor for every citizen.
Manuel Pizarro’s praise came during a visit to the facilities of the borough’s new Family Health Unit, the USF Lendas d’Olhão, on the morning of Tuesday, October 17.
The unit is currently operating in a space adjacent to the existing USF Mirante until the construction of the future facilities near the municipal pools is completed.
“None of this would have been possible without decentralisation and the involvement of Olhão Council, which was been exemplary in mobilising healthcare professionals and committing to building a new facility for this USF,” said Pizarro.
The borough’s 100% family doctor coverage was also celebrated by Olhão Mayor, António Pina.
“The 7,000 Olhão residents who did not have a family doctor now have access to one. This was our goal: to ensure universal access to primary healthcare for every resident of Olhão,” said Pina, celebrating what he called a “historic day for the borough.”
The achievement is all the more impressive considering that nearly two in every 10 people in Portugal still do not have a family doctor. The latest data from the National Health Service (SNS) transparency portal showed that 1.7 million people in May were without a family doctor.
Meanwhile, the mayor also announced that the construction of the future facilities for the new USF, which will be located in an area “with all the necessary amenities, excellent access, and ample parking,” will begin in 2024, with the project set to be completed by the end of 2026. The investment will amount to €1.4 million.
Pina added that the local health centre will also undergo a major refurbishment, with an investment of €1 million planned.