- Autores: Augusto GF, de Almeida Simões J, Fronteira I, Hernandez-Quevedo C
- Ano de Publicação: 2017
- Journal: Health systems in transition
- Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28485714
This analysis of the Portuguese health system reviews recent developments in organization and governance, health financing, health care provision, health reforms and health system performance. Overall health indicators such as life expectancy at birth and at age 65 years have shown a notable improvement over the last decades. However, these improvements have not been followed at the same pace by other important dimensions of health: child poverty and its consequences, mental health and quality of life after 65. Health inequalities remain a general problem in the country. All residents in Portugal have access to health care provided by the National Health Service (NHS), financed mainly through taxation. Out-of-pocket payments have been increasing over time, not only co-payments, but particularly direct payments for private outpatient consultations, examinations and pharmaceuticals. The level of cost-sharing is highest for pharmaceutical products. Between one-fifth and one-quarter of the population has a second (or more) layer of health insurance coverage through health subsystems (for specific sectors or occupations) and voluntary health insurance (VHI). VHI coverage varies between schemes, with basic schemes covering a basic package of services, whereas more expensive schemes cover a broader set of services, including higher ceilings of health care expenses. Health care delivery is by both public and private providers. Public provision is predominant in primary care and hospital care, with a gate-keeping system in place for access to hospital care. Pharmaceutical products, diagnostic technologies and private practice by physicians constitute the bulk of private health care provision. In May 2011, the economic crisis led Portugal to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, in exchange for a loan of 78 billion euros. The agreed Economic and Financial Adjustment Programme included 34 measures aimed at increasing cost-containment, improving efficiency and increasing regulation in the health sector. Reforms implemented since 2011 by the Ministry of Health include: improving regulation and governance, health promotion (launch of priority health programmes such as for diabetes and mental health), rebalancing the pharmaceutical market (new rules for price setting, reduction in the prices of pharmaceuticals, increasing use of generic drugs), expanding and coordinating long-term and palliative care, and strengthening primary and hospital care.