Hospitals in Portugal for Foreigners and Expats
Whether you’re just visiting or have made Portugal a more permanent home, it’s important to know where you can get quality healthcare should the need arise. To help you choose the right hospital, here’s a guide to what you’ll need to know about the hospital system as well as a list of hospitals in Portugal that are recommended for international visitors and expats.
Does Portugal Have Good Hospitals?
There are approximately 200 hospitals in Portugal, and they are ranked well by both international and European standards.
What Are the Best Hospitals in Portugal?
While many of Portugal’s hospitals stand up favorably when compared to others around the globe, the very top-ranked ones are especially impressive. The top two highest-ranked Portuguese hospitals are in the top 500 hospitals globally, and the top four are in the top 2000. The highest-ranked hospital in Portugal comes in at 189th in the world, with the next three highest-ranked hospitals following in order:
Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central (Hospital Dona Estefania)
R. Jacinta Marto 8A
Tel: + 351 21 312 6600
Centro Hospitalar do Porto (Hospital Geral de Santo Antonio)
Largo do Prof. Abel Salazar, 4099-001
Tel: + 351 22 207 7500
Instituto Português de Oncologia de Lisboa
R. Prof. Lima Basto
Tel: + 351 21 722 9800
Clínica Central do Bonfim Lda
Av. de Fernão de Magalhães 442, 4349-008
Tel: + 351 22 510 3411
How Can Expats and Visitors Access Hospitals in Portugal?
As someone who is considering spending time in Portugal, you are likely wondering how you will be able to gain access to hospitals and healthcare should the need arrive. Not to mention you will want to know how much it will cost to receive both emergency and non-emergency healthcare services. In order to answer those questions, it is necessary to have an understanding of how Portugal’s healthcare system works.
Related: International Health Insurance Plans
Public and Private Hospitals in Portugal
Portugal has nationalized healthcare that guarantees its residents the right to free healthcare. This system is overseen by the SNS, the country’s National Health Service. It is for the most part entirely free, although there are some modest fees charged for services to filter out unnecessary use. The services are administered through clinics and hospitals, many of which are grouped into large health centers overseen by a single body. Another thing to keep in mind is that though the SNS is meant to be a national healthcare system, it actually only fully applies to continental Portugal. Those in the autonomous regions, Azores and Madeira have their own regional system of healthcare for residents.
In addition to the SNS and the regional versions, there is a healthcare subsystem that serves specific professions. Those receiving benefits through this system may have access to public or private services, depending on their specific plan. Finally, there is private insurance, which people may choose to purchase.
This, in turn, leads to a hospital system with three kinds of hospitals: Public ones overseen by the SNS, social hospitals which are primarily sub-contracted to the SNS and private hospitals. Private hospitals, similar to the public ones, are overseen by centralized organizations, the difference being that they are private corporations, not government-run ones. There are several groups that run large healthcare systems that have clinics, healthcare centers and hospital locations that span the country. As the private hospitals primarily serve those who are part of the country’s healthcare subsystem as well as those with private insurance, many expats and visitors will find private hospitals better fit their needs and insurance coverage.
Are Private Hospitals Good for Visitors to Portugal?
Like many other European countries, Portugal’s SNS has faced many of the same problems that recently have plagued other national healthcare systems, such as long wait times to schedule appointments and inadequate resources and facilities, especially away from major cities. This problem is compounded by the fact that Portugal spends less per citizen on healthcare than most of its other European counterparts. So though the Portuguese healthcare system remains competitive, it is especially plagued by those problems common to national healthcare systems.
The good news, however, is that in response to the growing tourism industry in Portugal, the private healthcare system has greatly improved what it has to offer throughout the country. This means that there are a great deal of English speaking healthcare providers as well as access to private healthcare services that extend far beyond just the major cities. It is a good idea to note that a lot of this growth of the private industry is especially concentrated around those areas that most see tourism or a thriving expat community, such as Algarve.
How Much Does it Cost to Visit a Hospital in Portugal?
Visitors to Portugal who are European and have a European Health Insurance Card can access the SNS services in the same manner as Portuguese citizens, which means many healthcare services are free or for a nominal cost. For those who do not have access to the SNS, or prefer to take advantage of the private system, the cost to see a GP for a consultation can be very low, as little as 2 euros, while the cost of tests will be much higher, in the 80-200 euro range for individual blood tests and x-rays.
Out of pocket costs to schedule a single appointment with a specialist are relatively reasonable at 80-200 euros for those who unexpectedly need medical care without insurance, but it is definitely a good idea to plan ahead and purchase international insurance that will be accepted by a major private healthcare providers in Portugal, for those who plan any sort of extended stay in the country. Another aspect to keep in mind when choosing international insurance is medication coverage. The cost of medication can be quite high in Portugal.
Recommended Hospitals for Expats in Portugal
Hospital da Luz Torres de Lisboa (formerly British Hospital)
Rua Tomás da Fonseca
Edifícios B, E e F, 1600-209 Lisboa, Portugal
Tel: + 351 1 395 5067
Fax: + 351 1 397 4066
Clinica Medica International
Rua do Regimento Dezanove 67-2 Largo Luis de Cameos
Tel: + 351 1 484 5317
Fax: + 351 1 483 2506
Travessa do Castro 3 Lisbon 1350-070 Portugal
Tel: + 351 213 926 100
Fax: + 351 213 905 933
Hospital de Santa Maria
Avenida Professor Egas Moniz
Tel: + 351 1 797 5171
Fax: + 351 1 797 8821
Hospital Particular do Algarve Sitio da Cruz Bota
Lote 27 Estrada de Alvor Portimao 8500-322
Tel: + 351 82 420 4200
Fax: + 351 82 420 4204
Hospital Privado S. Goncalo de Lagos
Ameijeira de Cima
Av. D. Sebastiao
Tel: + 351 282 790 700
Fax: + 351 282 760 180
For non-EU Expats looking to visit or settle in Portugal it’s important to have private insurance.
Read more about International Hospitals and healthcare options in popular Expat countries: Hospitals in Ireland, Hospitals in Brazil, Hospitals in Canada, Hospitals in Thailand, Hospitals in Spain, Hospitals in Israel, Hospitals in Italy, Best Hospitals in China, Hospitals in Philippines.