Pharmacists question whether the Government has the political conditions to implement a health plan

“There must be conditions and a political environment so that these measures can be properly implemented”

The president of the Order of Pharmacists considered the health plan presented to be “well constructed”, but raised reservations about whether the Government has the financial and political conditions to implement the planned measures.

«It is a plan that seems to me to address areas that are essential for intervention. This is the case of oncology, emergencies and mental health, which are very important areas and with measures that are well identified and stratified over time. The problem is whether or not there are political conditions, on the one hand, and financial conditions, on the other, to implement the measures», said Hélder Mota Filipe in statements to the Lusa agency.

According to the pharmacist president, the health emergency and transformation plan approved by the Council of Ministers includes “aspects that require decisions and even urgent legislative changes” so that the respective measures can be implemented.

«There must be conditions and a political environment so that these measures can be properly implemented with the legal support, which is fundamental», highlighted Hélder Mota Filipe.

At a financial level, he pointed to the example of processes related to the recognition of health professionals, which include salary improvements and salary progressions, and which “need to have an associated financial envelope”.

In a first assessment, Hélder Mota Filipe classified the plan as «well-constructed» by a team «clearly competent and with knowledge of the health system and, in particular, the National Health Service» (SNS).

In the pharmaceutical area, the president of the order highlighted “three positive areas” related to better medicine management, the country's strategic reserve and the clinical trials strategy.

As “less positive areas”, he listed the potential that community pharmacists have to help reduce pressure on the NHS, in which “further could have been gone”, in line with what is happening across Europe, he warned.

«Overall, and with these repairs, it seems to me to be a good plan with its feet on the ground, in terms of the responses that are necessary for the system, which is structured over time», he concluded.

The health emergency and transformation plan is made up of five priority axes – combating waiting lists, gynecology/obstetrics, emergency services, primary health care and mental health – which include 54 measures to be implemented urgently, as a priority and structural over time.

The Government predicts, for urgent measures, results within three months; for priority ones, results by the end of this year; and for structuring companies, medium and long-term results.

When presenting the document, the Prime Minister announced that the plan aims to exhaust the NHS's resources to the limit, but that it also relies on the social and private sectors in a complementary way to improve users' access to the health care they need.

Luís Montenegro also said that he does not intend to "sell the illusion" that the difficulties will be resolved quickly, claiming that the sector faces "deep and structural" problems.