Country profile

The healthcare system in Portugal

Portuguese health care consists of three parallel systems: the Servi’o Nacional de Sa’de (SNS) or national health service, special social health insurance and voluntary private health insurance. The SNS offers free treatment for all citizens and holders of European Health Insurance Cards.

Portugal spends around 10% of GDP on healthcare and men and women have a high life expectancy. The number of hospital beds per 1000 people is broadly comparable with elsewhere in Europe but Portugal tends to have more physicians per head of population that most EU member states. As you would expect from a modern western European country, Portugal offers a wide choice of clean, modern hospitals and clinics, containing the latest technology and equipment and staffed by highly trained doctors, surgeons and nurses.

Most private doctors and surgeons in Portugal also work for the SNS, with purely private practice the exception to the rule. However, this is changing with the growth of healthcare tourism with many doctors and surgeons setting up exclusively private practices in tourist areas.

Portugal offers the medical tourist one of the widest ranges of treatments of any destination, offering standard medical and surgical procedures alongside the traditional range of cosmetic and elective treatments. Cosmetic dental tourism is also rapidly growing in the country, with a large number of dental clinics springing up in and around both the major cities and the main seaside tourist centres.

Medical and dental tourism to Portugal has many advantages, and although the prices may not be as low as those you might find in other destinations such as Eastern Europe or Asia, the quality of facilities, the pleasant environment and the overall affordability of a Portuguese holiday more than compensate.

Portugal has positioned itself as a centre of excellence in healthcare, especially in the areas of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, making it an ideal destination for the healthcare tourist who values quality above cost and expects the highest standards without compromise.

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