May 2019


The Socialist Party (PS) maintains as government, with an agreement with the parties to its Left ("Bloco de Esquerda" and the "Partido Comunista Português"). This year Portugal will have European and Government elections. There´s an ongoing debate regarding our Basic Health Law, with an emphasis on the role the private care will have in the Portuguese National Health Service (SNS). Portugal has a new minister of Health - Marta Temido - coming from a Hospital Administration background. Unfortunately, this change brought no significant improvement regarding medical doctors demands. None of the matters that imply budget enhancement is being seriously discussed.

Public service reforms keep getting on hold. The impact on the SNS has deepened at all levels, with some quite serious deficits arising. The last months were the stage of some interesting union movements.

- By one side there was the rising of some new unions, with very aggressive stands. A new nurses union declared a strike focused in the operative room of the largest Hospitals, supported with “Crowdfunding” with delays in thousands of surgical procedures.

- The biggest Portuguese Union (the Teachers´ Union) achieved a victory with parliamentary approval of a retroactive career progression, just to be denied with a political move of the government, that threatened to resign.

The main problems remain the same: salary stagnation of physicians in the NHS, the opening of an insufficient number of specific training places for all candidates, sub-budgeting and lack of necessary reforms in the SNS, with insufficient response capacity to citizens.

As achievements to register since the last FEMS Assembly, there are some changes in our collective agreement:

- One extra vacation day for every 10 years of work

- Reduction of the maximum extraordinary working time to 150 hours, per year

Considering the current state of the negotiations, the Medical Unions declared intentions for a new medical doctors strike, to be held next month.

The two Trade Unions (FNAM and SIM) maintains a policy of convergent action on the essential aspects of defending the interests of doctors.

The Portuguese Medical Association and the main medical organizations, have shown public support in this process.