Three in five patients on Portuguese waiting lists spurn scheme to get surgery sooner

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 10 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:796
  1. Tiago Villanueva
  1. 1Lisbon

    Almost 60% of patients on waiting lists for surgery in Portugal have failed to make use of a government scheme to have their surgery sooner by letting them have their operation at a hospital outside their locality or at a private hospital with a contract with the government.

    Their unwillingness or inability to use the scheme is shown in data released by the organisation that runs the scheme, the Integrated Management System of Registered Patients for Surgery (Sistema Integrado de Gestão de Inscritos para Cirurgia). The system is designed to cut waiting times for surgery and to create equal access to surgery for everyone in Portugal.

    Under the scheme, which was introduced in December 2004, patients who have been on a waiting list longer than a …

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