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Portugal’s NHS is “very close to the point of no return”, warns surgeon

Published on 12/11/2019

Surgeon Jose Fragata has warned earlier today that the National Health Service may be “very close to the point of no return”, arguing that health “really has to be a priority” in the current legislature.

In a speech at the National Health Convention, which took place today in Lisbon, the doctor and vice-chancellor of the New University of Lisbon alluded to the “medical diaspora” and the departure of many professionals from the public health service, doctors and nurses alike.

He recalled that since 2014 more than two thousand doctors have left the country, pointing out that most of the professionals who leave Portugal’s public healthcare system do not return. “You have to act now. Just investing more and more money is no longer enough. It just hasn’t worked,” he warned. Dr. Fragata also lamented that the level of public health funding is “similar to Mexico’s,” a country “that doesn’t excel at having a good health system.”

While acknowledging that the “health system performance is still good,” the New University vice-chancellor argued that “the system needs new solutions.”

“We have to innovate our working methods and management models,” he said. Dr. Fragata criticized that healthcare comes down to “a dialectic between public and private”, understanding that it is “too short-sighted”.

“Public, private and social should work within a network. The state cannot maintain full funding because it has no funds for it,” he argued. The fourth meeting of the National Health Convention, a meeting where about 150 healthcare entities or associations from the sector are represented took place today in Lisbon.