The vice-president of the National Health Convention has defended the need for the SNS to move forward with the cooperation of the private and social sectors to create a "healthy ecosystem of enhanced value" to provide a cohesive response to the challenges.

“The restructuring and strengthening of the health system should be considered top priority”, said Ana Paula Martins at the end of the conference “Recover Health, Now!”, which brought together more than 150 public, private and social institutions.

For the National Health Convention, the delays in the recovery of care activity that were created due to the Covid-19 pandemic “cannot and should not ignore the need for a clear strategy for the future consolidation of the system”.

“We have to do several things at the same time”, said Ana Paula Martins, President of the Pharmaceutical Association.

Citing the statements made by the president of the Economic and Social Council, Francisco Assis, at the conference, she stated that, in order to strengthen the National Health Service, which is central to this system, it is necessary to have the courage to reform.

"Therefore, an intelligent and transformative instrument in health is essential to modernise the SNS and build, once and for all, with the private and social sector a health ecosystem of reinforced value, ready to give a cohesive response the current and upcoming challenges that we will have”, she stressed.

“No one will forgive us if we continue in the shortsightedness of not wanting to see the resources we have at our disposal and use them in a concerted way,” she said.

"We reaffirm what we have been saying for years and that the pandemic has emphasised: health must have an ideology, but it cannot be a space of ideological conflict, rather it is a national goal, where all ideologies converge in what is best for the citizen and for society”.

Addressing the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who closed the conference, Ana Paula Martins said: “the pandemic has taught us that the matrix of the past does not solve the problem of the present and the future”.

In this sense, she defended that it is urgent to assume new models of management and financing, of providing care “with energy, with hope and with force”.

“The challenge is to transform without changing what is essential, solidarity, because there are no first-rate and second-rate Portuguese”, she said. “The SNS is not the health system for the poor, nor the private one for the rich or low-income. The national health system is a large ecosystem that serves everyone according to their needs, taking into account the preferences of citizens who are not passive agents in the 21st century”.

She also stressed that the National Health Convention attaches “the greatest importance” to the Recovery and Resilience Plan, which highlights the digital transition as one of the main priorities.