This data was shared to Lusa by the president of the Portuguese Private Hospitalisation Association (APHP) after the SNS Executive Direction divulged that out of circa 6750 births done between June 1st and September 10th in Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, only 24 pregnancies were transferred to private hospitals (0.13%) under the “Operation Birth in Safety in the SNS – 2023” project.

Óscar Gaspar underlined that the low percentage demonstrates that “private healthcare in this and in other specialties has its own consistent activity which is unrelated to the SNS.”

“This test lets us draw some important conclusions and debunk with facts the demagogy that is so often put into circulation. The fake news should be flagged, especially as in this sector they harm people’s health,” he alerted.

The leader of the APHP also highlighted that “the price of normal births was €1965.60 and the c-sections were €3005.10, as it was defined by the Government,” alluding to how not long ago there was speculation “that the amount paid to private hospitals was five grand, that this would be a great business and that even the use of privates would serve as motivation for their financing.”

“Saying that births in the SNS constitute a business doesn’t have any base of truth to it because this activity wasn’t expressed in the accounts of private hospitals,” he pointed out.

Óscar Gaspar also reminded that “the existence of a strong private health system allowed the State to calm the country’s pregnant women and offer them this possibility, in case it was needed.”

“The earlier insecurity was substituted by the certainty that pregnancies would have all the requirements to live this moment that’s so important in their lives in the best conditions available. The great victory of the deal is that – a clear agreement allowed a clear service and solved a problem of the SNS. The programmed and predictable articulation increases the offer and sustainability of healthcare,” he defended.

In a report to Lusa about an operation carried out, the SNS executive director affirmed that “it was a complex process in regards with workers’ holidays and the presence of many other problems that happened during this period,” such as strikes, but he underlined that “despite all of that, the operation was done in a very calm and organised fashion.”

According to Fernando Araújo, the predictability from the perspective of the locations that are open maintained itself “in a very robust way, which gives and has given assured confidence to pregnant women and safety for professionals.”

From January to August, the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region saw 16,155 births (excluding those from the West Hospital Centre, whose maternity ward is integrated with the Leiria Hospital Centre, part of the Centre region), with another 500 births or so (+3.2%) compared to this time last year.

Further asked if “Operation Birth in Safety” is to continue, Fernando Araújo added that the program’s efficacy is being evaluated with the relevant institutions, assuring that the executive direction’s decisions “are always based on the involvement and dialogue with the institutions and professionals.”