Health care in Lisbon: what you need to know

Ola, this is Dr. Joy!

Sun, heat, ice cream, and “Pasteis de Nata” are all in the air these days.
Now is the time for you to relax and enjoy your holiday in Lisbon.

Whether you’re discovering the city on your own or with your toddlers, whether you’re a student in the Portuguese capital, or just passing through on a business trip, health is important to you, isn’t it?

So you must know the different health care facilities where you can get treatment in Lisbon and how to access them.

I have put together a complete article on how to get medical treatment in Lisbon on holiday or in your daily life.


Getting treatment in Lisbon’s public hospitals

If you are a European citizen, you only need to show your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and an ID to get treatment in Portuguese public hospitals.
With these two documents, you will be treated in a public medical centre or hospital without any problem.

  • Health centres, or centro de saude

In Portugal, health care is mainly provided by “centros de saúde”.

Each parish or “freguesia” in Portugal have a centro de saude where you can go for first aid. There are several in Lisbon.
Just go there, show your EHIC and your ID, and check-in at the reception desk. You can consult a doctor there.

There are no specialists in these centres, but if necessary, the doctor will refer you to the appropriate professional.
In any case, the centro de saude is an obligatory stopover to see a specialist.

If you need nursing care during your stay, you should go to these centres too.

  • Hospitals and permanent care services, or serviço de atendimento permanente

Have you tripped on the Lisbon pavement and are worried about a sprain?
In emergencies like this you can :

  1. Call 112, the European emergency number
  2. Call 800 296 296, the tourist assistance service
  3. Go to the nearest permanent care service (Serviço de Atendimento Permanente, SAP) or hospital.

Some public hospitals in Lisbon:

Hospital de São José
Hospital de Santa Maria
Hospital de São Francisco Xavier
Hospital Santa Marta
Hospital de Egas Moniz
Hospital de Santo António dos Capuchos
Hospital Dona Estefânia (for children)

It should be noted, however, that waiting times for treatment are generally very long in the public sector.

Private medical centres in Lisbon

If you want to reduce the waiting time for your appointments then you can turn to private medical centres and clinics. They are not free but their facilities are state-of-the-art, with modern equipment.

In these establishments, you will have to pay in advance to be reimbursed once back in your country.

This is the case of the Alegria Medical Centre, a clinic dedicated to internationals in Lisbon. The centre was founded to provide medical responses in several languages to patients living in or visiting Portugal.

You can make an appointment with health professionals of various specialties who will speak your language.
A real plus when you have to explain a health problem and you are worried.

Getting reimbursed for medical expenses in your country.

To make it easier to get reimbursed for medical expenses in Europe, and therefore in Lisbon, here are some options.

  • The European Health Insurance Card

You can apply for it before your trip. The EHIC certifies your entitlement to your country’s social security. When on holiday or a short stay in Europe, it is strongly recommended that you obtain it. It is free, individual, and nominative.

The EHIC is valid for a maximum of 2 years and must be applied at least 20 days before departure.

You are leaving in just a few days and you haven’t thought about it?
Calmaaaaa. I have the solution!
Apply anyway and a provisional replacement certificate will be issued to you. This is valid for 3 months.

The EHIC gives you access to all the country’s health professionals and hospitals under the same conditions and at the same price as those who benefit from the Portuguese social security.

Sometimes, coverage is immediate, with no advance payment. But from one country to another, health systems vary greatly. It is, therefore, possible that you will have to pay and in this case, you will be reimbursed in your country.

For this, certain documents are necessary.

  • Checklist of documents not to forget

Getting reimbursed in your country?!! Don’t panic, it’s not the headache you might think. All you need to do is put together :

  1. The invoice
  2. Proof of payment (e.g. credit card receipt)
  3. Medical report

And send the whole to your health insurer when you get home
However, only treatments which you are entitled to receive at home will be reimbursed and only up to the cost of treatment in your home country, which may be less than you paid for the treatment

And that’s it, I’m done with the different establishments to get treatment in Lisbon.
If you have any questions or suggestions, we are at your disposal to answer your general, medical, and administrative questions. Please contact us.

Beijinhos, Dr. Joy!

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