Hospital emergency departments and the private sector will be able to pass casualties and some cancer licenses could be extended to three months, announced this Friday the executive director of the National Health Service (SNS).
In an interview with the newspaper “Expresso”, six months after taking office, Fernando Araújo said that measures will be taken to reduce bureaucracy in primary health care.
The executive director recalled that the first was the self-declaration of illness for three days, which has already been implemented.
“In a second line, it will be possible to acquire casualties in the emergency services, something that was prohibited by law. At the moment, a diploma is already in the legislative circuit that aims to allow hospitals to issue sick leave, in order to prevent a patient from leaving a leg, go home, and then have to go to the family doctor for someone to pass you the discharge”, he added.
The official also highlighted that it will be possible to obtain sick leave in the private sector, which was also prohibited, adding that what is intended is for these measures to be “a reality this year”.
Fernando Araújo also advanced that another measure is that some casualties for diseases such as cancer be extended to three months.
“The objective is that patients do not have to go to the family doctor every month to renew their leave. We are currently also working on medical certificates for obtaining driving licenses. pilot projects in two Local Health Units (ULS), one in Matosinhos and one in Alto Minho”, he said.
Fernando Araújo explained that, instead of the patient going to the family doctor, the Local Health Units will have a space for this purpose.
In the interview, the official also advanced with two measures related to pharmacies.
“We in Portugal have a habit of making paperwork a hell of a lot. I want to remove all of that. The pharmacy network has an enormous capillarity in the country. Therefore, the first measure has to do with chronic medication and I hope it will be launched in August or September: If the family doctor marks a certain medication as chronic, for a disease such as diabetes or hypertension, for example, the patient will no longer need to go every month or every three months to the doctor to get prescriptions. him the number of suitable boxes for that month, close to home, and sometimes on the same street”, he said.
The executive director of the SNS also said that next winter it is intended that pharmacies will be able to vaccinate people over 65 for flu and covid together with health centers.
“We want them to become vaccination points. The user, due to his age, will not need a medical prescription or to go to the family doctor. He will only present his citizen card”, he underlined.
In the interview Fernando Araújo also guaranteed that the birthing blocks will not close during the summer, noting that if necessary, private hospitals will be activated in a complementary logic.
“Since January we started thinking about the summer, and in this case, there were two large maternity hospitals that we had to close for works — the maternity hospital of the Centro Hospitalar do Oeste and the one in Lisbon North (Santa Maria), the latter quite different and that had never had works since 60 years ago. The most important thing is that the teams were available to work in other places, from the West to Leiria, for example, where there was no legal regime that obliged them to do so”, he said.
Questioned about whether he can give guarantees that they will not close the birth blocks, Fernando Araújo says: “Yes. It is something that we can rule out”.
“However, it was important for us to add a level of security in case it was necessary. So, we discussed with the private sector the issue of being able to adhere to the process, always in a complementary logic. They will only be activated when and if the system is saturated in some way. INEM will assess the situations, from a medical point of view and, if the birthing blocks cannot receive anyone else, they call one of the private ones”, he said.
The official added that the hospitals in Luz, CUF and Lusíadas voluntarily joined the process, with the addenda having been signed last week.