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Legal alert no. 104

Law no. 95/2019, dated from September 4th which approves the Framework Law on Health and repeals Law no. 48/90, dated from August 24th, and Decree-Law no. 185/2002, dated from August 20th.

 

On September 4th, it was published in the Portugal Official Gazette, Law no. 95/2019, which approves the new Framework Law on Health, repealing the previous one – Law no. 48/90, dated from August 24th – and Decree-Law no. 185/2002, dated from August 20th, which settled the legal regime of the health partnerships with management and private funding.

This Law reinforces the right to health protection and highlights a set of rights and duties that enshrine the fundamental right to health, constitutionally guaranteed. The Law introduces the concept of the informal caregiver, recognizing and promoting his important role in health matters.

As foundations of health policy, the Law strengthens the promotion of education and health literacy, allowing people to make decisions in an informed and conscious way, and to access to family planning, always based in a culture of transparency.

In addition, intensifies the development role of the regional health systems, assigned to the competent bodies of the autonomous regions. The local health systems are liable to ensure not only health promotion, but also the continuity of health care and the optimization of the use of resources.   

Additionally, the Law clarifies that the responsibility of the State for the right to health protection is performed through the National Healthcare System (NHS) and other public services. Agreements with private entities or with the social sector might be entered into, in a supplementary and temporary way, as well as with self-employment workers, in case of justified need. The State is responsible to monitor the development of health and welfare conditions of the population, identifying specific areas of intervention, programs and health promotional and disease preventive measures.

It is emphasized the importance of the genomic on public health and it is promoted the mental health improvement of people and society in general.

Some of the main outlines of the health policy carried out by the State are highlighted in this Law:

·         Genomic: the law shall regulate the genomic for therapeutic purposes, testing and for the knowledge of data base for health care provision and research;

·         Mental health of people and of society in general: the mental healthcare shall recognize each people’s individuality and it is prohibited any stigmatization, negative discrimination or disrespect in health contexts;

·         Occupational health: in the employment field, every worker has the right to benefit from health protection measures;

·         Information and communication technologies: these technologies are instrumental to the healthcare provision, aiming the improvement of healthcare, the efficiency (of the organizations) and the safeguarding of the equal access to good quality health services;

·         Health technologies, particularly with regard to medicines and to medical devices: they shall be used in an effective and efficient way, ensuring the balance between quality and equal access and sustainability of the health system. It should be noted that the medicine policy has to promote the rational use of medicines and the use of generic medicinal products.

The Law establishes that the performance of non-conventional therapeutics – that should be performed in a join-up manner with the conventional therapeutics, based on the best available evidence – is governed by law.

As principles of the NHS, the Law points out the quality, the geographical proximity, the finance sustainability and reinforces the need of transparency.

Regarding the financing of the NHS, the Framework Law underlines the possibility of tax revenue’s assignment. Furthermore, it specifies situations of exemption of user charges.

If the NHS does not have the proven capability to render care provision in due time, agreements may be entered into with entities from the private or social sectors and self-employment workers.

It is introduced a definition of health professionals that, according to base 28, are workers engaged in actions which principal goal is to improve the health situation of individuals or populations, including the direct providers of care and the providers of support activities. Health professionals with special needs are entitled to the adoption of proper measures in order for them to adapt to their work.

The ministries responsible for health, education and science areas shall guarantee the collaboration with public institutions of higher education in the definition of policies regarding pre and post training. It is also important to highlight that the State shall promote the equitable access to innovation in its various ways.

The new Framework Law strengthens the health authority competence in the decision making of the State intervention in the defence of public health, in situations that may cause or enhance serious damages to citizens or communities’ health and in the health surveillance in the national territory, which results from the movement of people and goods in the cross-border traffic.

 

The Law also foresees that all programmes, plans or projects, whether public or private, and that can affect public health shall be subject to an impact evaluation, in order to ensure that they contribute to the increase of the population’s health.

To access the full version of the Framework Law no 95/2019, dated from September 4th, please click here.

 
 
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