Healthcare in Portugal is made possible through three systems that coexist and work in unison. These systems are the National Health Service, special social health insurance schemes for certain professionals, and a voluntary private health insurance system. The National Health Services provides universal coverage for citizens, and the Portuguese Ministry of Health manages it. The Health Regulatory Entity is a public independent entity tasked with the regulation of all public, private, and social health provider activities.
Portugal Healthcare System
National Health Service
: The Portuguese government ensures the right to health protection by terms outlined in the country’s constitution. The National Health Service was founded in 1979 and operates under the watchful eye of the Ministry of Health. Characteristics of the National Health Services are universal, national, general, and free. Regional Health Services
: Despite the Portuguese Constitution and other regulatory provisions, the National Health Service is not truly national as it was never extended to the autonomous regions of Portugal. These regions of Azores and Madeira created their own health services, and these are managed by the assigned regional governmental entities.Private Health Insurance
: Private Health Insurance supplements both the National Health Service and various health subsystems. Considering that these are supplemental healthcare services, they are managed by the Ministry of Health.
When traveling to Portugal for medical services, it is advisable to seek care at a private hospital instead of a public institution.
Portugal currently has 14 facilities accredited by the Join Commission International including hospitals, clinics, and standard medical centers.
Top hospitals for medical tourism in Portugal
- Intercir – Centro Cirurgico de Coimbra, S.A.: Also known as, the Surgical Center of Coimbra, this facility is certified to provide consultations, complementary diagnostic tests, hospitalization, and various surgeries.
- CUF Infante Santo Hospital, Ed 2: Inaugurates in 1945, The CUF Infante Santo Hospital specializes in hospitalization, complex operations, permanent care, pediatric consultation, and a wide array of examination procedures.
- Pulido Valente: Located in the civil parish of Lumiar, the Pulido Valente Hospital is dedicated to pulmonary care medicine and is the biggest hospital of this specialty in Portugal.
- Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central: Authorized by the Ministry of Health, the Centro Hospitaliar de Lisboa Central strives to provide differentiated healthcare through technical competence, professional ethics, and a focus on patient comfort and satisfaction.
Common treatments done by medical tourists in Portugal
- Standard Medical Care
- Cosmetic Surgery
- Dental Work (including cosmetic dentistry)
- Reproductive Services
Cost of medical treatments in Portugal
The following are cost comparisons between Medical procedures in Portugal and equivalent procedures in the United States:
Malpractice and liability laws in Portugal
Medical Malpractice and Liability laws in Portugal are governed by the guidelines established by the European State of Art as well as the European Academy of Legal Medicine.
Procedures and services in Portugal are much more economically priced when compared to identical services offered in other Western countries. Portugal is also one of the most affordable cities in all of Europe in terms of everyday life (travel, lodging, food, etc.).
Fourteen facilities currently hold the prestigious JCI accreditation, and many others are working to achieve that same level of recognition.
Portugal is ideal for medical tourism because of the white sandy beaches, exquisite ancient sites, and delicious local eateries. Portugal also offers year round sunshine in the southern areas.
Roads in Portugal are a lot more treacherous than what people are typically accustomed. Road in Portugal can be narrow, steep, windy, and congested. You also have the option of using the national highways, but those are toll roads and the cost can quickly add up. Portuguese drivers travel at fast speeds and are impatient when compared to the rest of the world in situations like overtaking another vehicle.
Visitors to Portugal might be frustrated with the local’s lack of urgency on anything. Portugal has a slow, relaxed way of life, and it shows with one of the most common Portuguese phrases, devagar (which means slowly).
Traveling to Portugal
Average estimated travel time in hours
Entry and exit requirements to Portugal
Portugal is a party to the Schengen Agreement. As such, U.S. citizens for business or tourism are allowed to stay in the Schengen area for 90 days without a visa within a six-month period. The passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay.
Statistics for medical tourism in Portugal
In 2017, approximately 9.5 million international tourists visited Portugal, primarily in the Lisboa region. Although Portugal tourism is on the rise in a general sense, Medical Tourism is still a new area in Portugal with little to no activity or governmental backing.