Facing austerity: the decline in health access and quality of care for patients with cancer in Portugal

Carlos da Silva Barradas João Arriscado Nunes About the authors

Abstract

In April 2011, Portugal called on the European Union for a financial bailout due to its debt crisis, and counterbalanced this rescue with various austerity measures. Within the Portuguese public health system (Serviço Nacional de Saúde, SNS) these measures were swiftly applied on a large scale, and in turn led to increasing difficulties among the health professionals within the SNS with regard to the use of diagnostics, treatments, and medications for patients, as well as growing obstacles to regular clinical consultations. Through media analysis of Portuguese health policy related to cancer and statements from professionals in the SNS, this article expresses the concerns of these health providers and explores how this situation is negatively impacting the lives of those who deal with this disease every day.

Keywords:
austerity; cancer; health professionals; Serviço Nacional de Saúde; political economy of health

Casa de Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz Av. Brasil, 4365 - Prédio do Relógio, 21040-900 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil, Tel./Fax: (55 21) 3865-2208/2195/2196 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil
E-mail: hscience@coc.fiocruz.br