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The Reform of the NHS in Portugal

Author: CATARINA DIOGO
Published in PFM, Vol. 5 No. 4

The objective of this article is to describe the Portuguese National Healthcare Service, giving a
special emphasis to the recent reforms that have been introduced since the beginning of 2002. Its
main argument is that there are two different (but connected) rationales that underpin the
orientation of the current reforms. One the one hand, the explicit rationale that refers mainly to
the ‘visible’ and stated causes and motivations of the reforms. On the other hand, the implicit
rationale, whose influence over the government’s actions is not expressed as such, either because
it is not perceived, or because it is not assumed. In the conclusion, it re-examines the importance
of the approached followed in the article and the extent to which it can be useful to understand the
Portuguese NHS and its future development.

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