Information about places of treatment and reimbursements can be obtained in mainland Portugal from the Regional Health Administration (Administração Regional de Saúde).
Private health services are also offered in Portugal. When you use private healthcare services, you must pay the costs of treatment in full yourself.
Madeira and the Azores have their own practices, which you can enquire about from the Health Service of Madeira (Serviço de Saúde da Região Autónoma da Madeira) in Funchal and from the Regional Direcorate for Health of the Azores (Direção Regional de Saúde dos Açores) in Angra do Heroismo.
To consult doctor in mainland Portugal, go to the nearest health centre (Centro de Saúde). The health centres provide general practitioner and specialist services.
Show your European Health Insurance Card and ID and ask to receive treatment in accordance with EU provisions. You will then pay a standard fee (taxa moderadora) for your treatment. The fees vary depending on the procedure. Medical care is, however, entirely free for, among others, children under the age of 12, pregnant women, the chronically ill and pensioners, in certain cases, (ask more from the Regional Health Administration).
In urgent cases, you can go to the permanent emergency service (Serviço Atendimento Permanente, SAP), which is open 24 hours a day, or to a hospital.
There are a limited number of public dental services, and a standard fee for treatment must be paid in accordance with the procedure.
You will usually be referred for hospital treatment by a doctor. At the hospital, show your European Health Insurance Card and ID and ask to receive treatment in accordance with EU provisions. Hospital treatment should be free of charge if you have a referral. Separate charges may be made for additional examinations. Pre-hospital emergency care is always free.
Patient transport in an emergency is free of charge. According to the law which entered into effect at the beginning of 2012, patient transport in non-emergency cases, too, can be reimbursed either in part or in full if certain conditions are fulfilled. You can obtain more information from the Regional Health Administration.
When you collect prescription medicines prescribed by a doctor in Portugal from a pharmacy (farmácia), present your European Health Insurance Card. You will then receive a reimbursement for the costs of most medicines. In general, prescription medicines are reimbursed at rate between 15 and 95 per cent (15, 37, 69 or 95 per cent). The level depends on, among other things, the seriousness of the illness being treated. In more serious illness, medicines are entirely free of charge.
Pharmacies are usually open from Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 1 pm, and 3 pm to 7 pm. At weekends, the typical opening hours are from 9 am to 1 pm. The contact information of the pharmacies on duty for emergencies 24 hours a day is usually indicated on all the pharmacies´ doors.
If you have to pay all costs yourself
If you have to pay the full price for treatment at a local public healthcare unit for which you would have been entitled to reimbursement with a European Health Insurance Card, you can apply for reimbursement retrospectively. You can apply for reimbursement either from the health insurance institution of the destination country or from Ordem dos Médicos SV 128.
You can find private healthcare service providers operating in Portugal most easily through internet search engines. There are more private hospitals and medical centres in larger towns and tourist areas, such as Lisbon, Porto, Cascais and Algarve. Advice on finding public and private service providers can also be found on the website of the National Contact Point of Portugal.
You can also search for healthcare professionals registered with Portugal´s medical, dental and nurses associations from the following search services
- Ordem dos enfermeiros (nurses)
- Ordem dos Médicos doctor search service by speciality and on the basis of geographical area
- Ordem dos Médicos Dentistas search service for dentists by area and locality
If you are unable to find the name you are looking for through the Medical Association´s search service, you can contact the Portuguese Medical Association by email at omcne(at)omcne.pt.
Treatment-related practices and costs
If you are going to consult a specialist, check in advance with the place of treatment whether you need a referral from a general practitioner for the appointment. The practices may vary according to the speciality and the place of treatment.
You can search for private healthcare prices on the respective websites of healthcare service providers. It is also a good idea to check with the service provider before seeking treatment.
Quality and safety of treatment
The Portuguese Medical Association monitors the competence and legality of the activities of physicians. If you have doubts about the doctor´s competence, you can contact the Medical Association, Ordem dos Médicos directly.
Information about healthcare quality control, complaint procedures and clinical standards are available on the website of the Contact Point of Portugal.