Consumer healthcare complaints total 2,500 in 2018

By TPN/Lusa, in Business · 14-02-2019 10:46:00 · 0 Comments
Consumer healthcare complaints total 2,500  in 2018

Deco, a consumer rights association in Portugal, received some 2,500 complaints about healthcare services in the country last year, with 60 percent of them relating to the private sector, it said.

The volume of complaints has remained fairly constant for the last three years and, according to Carolina Gomes, a legal expert at Deco, while the healthcare sector is not the one that generates the most complaints, that “does not mean that it is a sector without problems”.


There is “still great difficulty in recognising and exercising rights on the part of consumers, particularly with regard to the right to complain,”, said Carolina Gomes, adding that this makes consumers “less demanding” in a sector “with so many or more requirements” than others.


“In other sectors, non-compliance with quality parameters generates compensation for consumers,” she said. “That still doesn’t happen in health. It is important that consumers have the necessary literacy to be demanding.”


According to Gomes, complaints in the healthcare sector received by Deco essentially focus on waiting time in accident and emergency departments and in health centres, as well as in the quality of the service provided.


About 60 percent of the complaints relate to the private sector, according to Deco.


To empower users of health services, Deco on Monday launched the campaign ‘Health to those who are entitled’, with the goal of “giving consumers knowledge about their rights as health users, allowing a fuller exercise [of these] and more enlightened behaviour in the health system,” explained Gomes. The campaign is aimed at all users, including “the most vulnerable groups”, who have less access to information.

Deco has prepared explanatory videos on the various rights of users of health services that will be available online as well as being shown on monitors in some pharmacies and health centres, through partnerships with the relevant sector
associations.



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