Sunday 21 September 2014 - Tuesday 23 September 2014

The Future of Health in Portugal

The Gulbenkian Platform for a Sustainable Health System initiative “Health in Portugal: A Challenge for the Future” was created in early 2013 with the aim of building a new vision for health in Portugal which integrates its NHS’s founding values of social solidarity, ensures sustainability of care and enhances citizen and patient participation.


After extensive work, the initiative launched its report “The Future for Health – Everyone has a role to play” on 23 September in Lisbon. The report was produced by an inclusive commission of international and national experts, including thirty-five multidisciplinary Portuguese experts. The commission is headed by Lord Nigel Crisp, former Chief Executive of the British National Health Service (NHS) and Permanent Secretary of the UK Department of Health, and current independent member of the House of Lords and co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health. Three Portuguese commissioners and three external commissioners, including GHP Director Ilona Kickbusch, complete the Commission, which directed the study and approved the final report. In addition to this, the initiative relied on four diverse working groups, an Advisory Board composed of senior stakeholder representatives, a Young Professionals Advisory Group, and a Support Team.

The report details a clear vision for the future of health in Portugal where the focus shifts to the role citizens can play and a system that makes them partners in health promotion and care. In recognition of the challenges and opportunities of the current Portuguese system, the report outlines twenty key recommendations on governance, citizen and societal action, quality of care, service models, human resources for health, and financial stability. Additionally, the Calouste Galbenkian Foundation, which initiated the review, committed itself to working towards three Gulbenkian Challenges which embody this approach: reducing hospital acquired infections, slowing growth in diabetes, and helping the country become a leader in childhood health and development. Available in both a summary form and a comprehensive report, the review achieves its task to “create a new vision for health and health care in Portugal, describe what this would mean in practice and set out how it might be achieved and sustained”. Using the Initiative’s vision as a roadmap, Portugal and others can look forward to the next generation of health where everyone has a role to play.  

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