The number of people registered in the National Health Service (SNS) without a family doctor increased in 2021 and now has now reached 900,000 thousand citizens.

“Regarding the problem of coverage of family doctors, in April, coverage of registered users with a family doctor was 91 percent, corresponding to approximately 900,000 users without a family doctor”, said the Minister for Health Marta Temido to members of the Parliamentary Health Committee.

The minister went on to explain the worsening situation, without shying away from the fact that this is a topic that the government has to “work to reverse the trend”.

“The situation worsened in April because there are still - and were foreseen - retirements. This year alone, more than 100 retirements of specialists in general and family medicine took place, but on the other hand, we also have 59,000 more people registered with the SNS in this four-month period alone. Many users whose registration had been inactive, because they were not users and reactivated their registration with the search for health care and vaccinations”, she justified.

Marta Temido also pointed out, in relation to primary health care (CSP), that by the end of June, “new specialists in general and family medicine who will be examined in April and who are indispensable to improve coverage” will be placed in the health teams, which also guaranteed the hiring of nurses.

The Minister of Health took the opportunity to present the recovery with “very significant numbers” of CSP in terms of consultations in the first four months of this year, namely the growth of 24 percent in medical consultations, 51 percent in nursing consultations and 26 percent of consultations with other health technicians compared to the same period in 2020.

According to the minister, there was also a “recovery of cancer screening activity” in health centres, with an “increase in the geographical coverage of functional units”.

“As for the recovery of screening activity, there was an increase in the number of people invited and screened in all areas, including for breast, colon and cervical cancer”, she said.

Regarding care in a hospital environment, Marta Temido highlighted the 12 percent increase in specialty consultations and 22 percent increase in surgeries in the first four months of 2021, highlighting the importance of the extraordinary incentive, which “allowed, with data for April, to accomplish more than 82,000 consultations and 30,000 surgeries”.

The minister also pointed out that in the area of oncology, “the list of registrants for surgery above the guaranteed maximum response time was reduced in this four-month period” by about 5 percent, although she underlined that 68 percent of the patients were operated on during the first quarter of this year were people who were on the lists in December 2020.