Following the adoption of Decree-Law No. 52/2022 on August 4th, a new National Health Service (NHS) statute has come into force in Portugal, which had not occurred for almost 30 years.
In this statute, one can find the definition of the NHS, a catalogue of facilities and services, its beneficiaries’ rights and duties, and its territorial and functional organisation.
The Decree-Law in question also stipulates the following:
- Human resources and workforce, foreseeing the creation of a full dedication regime applied progressively to doctors;
- Financial resources, granting more autonomy to hospitals for hiring workers and for investing;
- The involvement of the beneficiaries, municipalities and other entities in the functioning of the NHS.
That being said, creating an NHS Executive Board is one of its main innovations, which was to be defined in a separate piece of legislation, issued within a 180-day timeframe. Meanwhile, Decree-Law No. 61/2022 of September 23rd has proceeded to create the said NHS Executive Board, approving its organic structure and conferring the status of a public institute under a special regime.
To avoid submitting the NHS Executive Board to the supervisory power of the Ministry of Health, this public institute is being incorporated into the State’s indirect administration, thereby being granted its own legal personality and administrative, financial and patrimonial autonomy.