Only four hospitals under private management

THE PORTUGUESE government is to maintain only four hospitals under private management, it was announced last week.

Of the 10 originally earmarked as PPPs (Private-Public Partnerships), only Cascais, Braga, Vila Franca de Xira and Loures will have private management, service provision and procurement.

The Amadora-Sintra Hospital, which had been run as a pilot PPP hospital, is soon to revert back to public management.

The announcements were made by Prime Minister José Sócrates in his fortnightly parliamentary debate, which was dedicated to the management crisis within the Portuguese National Health Service (Serviço Nacional de Saúde).

Amadora-Sintra Hospital, the first and only public hospital to be run privately (since 1995) by the company José de Mello Saúde, will revert back to public management as of January 1, 2009.

The hospital will join a list of around 30 state hospitals under state management that will, however, be run along private guidelines.

However, this is not the same as contracting out medical and surgical services to a wholly private company to run hospitals on the government’s behalf.

José de Mello Saúde reiterated its promise to fulfil its management contract for the population, which the hospital serves.

The Prime Minister said that PPPs were useful in building hospitals and some ancillary services but not when it came to public health care.

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