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Portugal health system
Good Morning, I am trying to understand better the health care system in Portugal as this is a consideration into where I decide to move. I am a health care provider in the US and have heard that in Portugal (while health care is rated very good) there cab be service disparities in some more rural areas. Is this so and if so which cities Coimbra and North from there have good medical and dental care?
Also do I understand the system correctly? One starts with a local clinic provider according to where they live? What does one do if they have a more specialized care need such as Oncology, Cardiology, Neurology? Are they referred to a specialist in the district in which they live? Which cities have the best hospitals and specialty care? Ok thanks. I think that's it for now. Roberta
As far as I know you have to join a GP practice allocated to your area. If you have a specific need you will be sent to the local hospital (long wait usually). Most large towns have private specialists who are not exorbitantly expensive. The Coimbra University Hospital is excellent, I had open heart surgery there. I had a cancerous growth removed from my head at the local hospital (Viseu). Waited a month or so for initial appointment and then about six weeks for the op. It is possible to look on the internet and see the waiting times across the country for all specialities. In theory you can then choose where to go for speedy care. Most healthcare has been disrupted by Covid.
Here is the link for the waiting times but they always seem to be months behind in the updates: http://tempos.min-saude.pt/#/instituicoes
When you do register at the local clinic you are not assigned a doctor. Where I live now after a year and a half I haven't had a doctor assigned yet. It's frustrating always having to go to a new doctor and go over the same things all the time. So I just avoid going unless necessary.
As with most things in Portugal, no two places operate in the same way. My wife and I both have a designated doctor, and are well looked after.
Thank you so much. In fact both of the areas Coimbra and Viseu are where I am thinking of relocating. Was the care in Viseu as good a what you received in Coimbra? It sounds from what you said that if you need a general specialist like a general surgeon or dermatologist that can be handled at a level one or more basic type of hospital but if you need sub-specialty of sub-specialty care like cardiac surgery or perhaps a more sophisticated type of cancer care the centers may be at an even larger center? Or is this not correct?
Also, has anyone had experience with orthopedic surgeons?
Good Morning Tania, What area/city in Portugal do you live in? Thanks. Roberta
@bert I live in Arruda dos Vinhos. It's about 40 km from Lisbon.
I have heard from friends living here that when major illnesses have occured they had great success with the public system and getting in to see specialists quite quickly. But if you want to jump the queue you can always opt to pay for private healthcare. I used private a few times but with tests and follow up visits the cost can add up fast.
From what my colleagues tell me if you have a referral via the public system and you wait more than a certain number of days for an appointment (sorry, can't remember the maximum number right now) you are allowed to do the visit through a private clinic and the public system covers the cost.
I think you are right about certain specialities being in a larger hospitals. My care in both hospitals was excellent, better I believe than I would have had in the U.K. I have no experience of orthopaedics. If I can help with further info on this fabulous part of Portugal, let me know.
Thanks so much. Yes will definitely have more questions about Central Portugal once I get closer to a move.