2018 health care access report presents positive perspective in the NHS

The NHS activity in 2018 shows that its performance continues to evolve positively, namely in the primary, hospital and long-term care. The increase in medical consultations regarding primary and hospital care, outpatient surgery and population-based screening are just some of the improvements achieved in 2018.

Last year there was a 1,6 per cent increase in primary care medical consultations, reaching a total of 31.2 million consultations. The national patients’ family doctor coverage reached 9.478.480 users or 93 per cent of NHS users, representing a gain of 3,3 per cent compared to 2015 and 10,9 per cent compared to 2010. Between the end of 2015 and 2018 83 new family health units were created.

The Ministry of Health’s efforts have also focused on expanding and improving primary health care network with new oral health responses, widening child and health ophthalmological screenings, as well as for breast, cervical, colon and rectal cancers, along with diabetic retinopathy screenings, the provision of diagnostic technologies in health centres and the extension of dermatological medical appointments by videoconference.

NHS hospital activity also registered a growing trend in hospital consultations, with an additional 1 percent growth in consultations totalling 12.1 million. Emergency episodes increased by 0,7 percent and the number of patients facing a NHS surgery was of 594.978 (+ 6,155 than in 2017). The average waiting time for surgery remained slightly above 3 months.

Outpatient surgery continued its upward rise and saw a 2 percent increase from 2017 to 65,5 percent at the end of 2018, continuing to be an area of efficiency and health gains.

Regarding long-term care, it is noted the increase of beds in the National Network of Long-Term Care reached 8,553 beds and 14,430 beds, including inpatient beds, outpatient and domicile beds.

Also significant are the strategies implemented under the Health Priority Programs to improve the adequacy of citizens’ access to the NHS. This work has resulted in several initiatives and campaigns to reduce salt, sugar and fat acids from food, the issuance of almost 14,000 medical prescriptions for physical activity, the implementation of the smoking cessation consultations in 98 Health Centre Groups (ACES).

In 2018, the Ministry of Health extended the exemption of payment of moderating fees to various situations, including consultations and complementary diagnostic and therapeutic acts carried out during population-based screening, HIV/AIDS infection screening, hepatitis, pulmonary tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, among others.

The annual report on NHS health care access is a publication of the Ministry of Health, which allows an assessment of the performance of NHS entities, according with Law no. 15/2014, 21st March, amended by Decree-Law No. 44/2017, 20th April.

Published on 10/10/2019

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