Health Centre

Patients urged to avoid A&E; health centres open at weekend

221 health centres are to open on New Year’s Eve and 180 on New Year’s Day

Health authorities in Portugal are urging patients to avoid heading for hospitals’ accident and emergency departments (A&E) “unless absolutely necessary”. Instead, they should visit their local health centre – but first check the opening hours on the SNS portal.

The executive board of Portugal’s National Health Service (SNS) announced today (December 27) that a total of 221 health centres are to open on Saturday, New Year’s Eve, and 180 on Sunday, New Year’s Day.

Last Saturday, on Christmas Eve, 221 health centres were also open and on Sunday, Christmas Day, 180 were open.

“Seek the closest response in primary health care,” reads a note to users for the New Year period released on Tuesday by the SNS executive board. “Do not go directly to the emergency room.”

Health centres have adapted their extended opening hours (for working days) and complementary opening hours (for weekends and holidays) to meet the increased health needs of the population during the autumn-winter period, as part of the country’s Strategic Plan for Seasonal Health Response – Winter 2022-2023.