The Health Minister said this Thursday that career progression, full dedication and the end of user fees are some of the “signs” of the 2022 State Budget that aim to “return to normality”.
We have to seek to improve the working conditions of professionals who give their best and who in these last two years have given their best to the National Health Service (SNS). It is a path that we would all like to take faster, but it is a path that we have been taking in a determined and safe way”, stated Marta Feared.
The minister, who met this evening with PS militants at the Porto Commercial Ateneu to present the State Budget proposals for 2022 in the area of health, stressed that this year the NHS institutions may “finally” regain the autonomy to carry out hospitals, Regional Health Administrations, primary health care and health centers.
In this area it is an effective innovation. It means that the replacement of someone who leaves for maternity leave, illness or for any reason can be directly replaced by decision of the management body of that entity”, he said, adding that the hiring will have to follow rules defined by the Ministries of Health and Finance.
“This is a return to normality, to a normality that we have been yearning for, to a normality that we recovered during the time of the pandemic as the exceptional regime and that we have now definitively re-established. This is just a first sign”, stressed Marta Feared.
The resumption of opening competitions that allow career progression and the enhancement of health professionals in the emergency services that work the most were other “signs” pointed out by the minister, as well as the presentation of a “full dedication regime for all professionals”, a measure that considered “the touchstone” of the choices made in this budget.
It is true that in 2021, the State Budget already referred to full dedication, but the third wave of the pandemic removed any possibility that we had of thinking about more structural solutions (…) We are in a position to present an NHS statute that can be defined in general rules what will be a full dedication regime for all health professionals”, stressed.
Saying not to confuse “full dedication with exclusive dedication”, Marta Temido stated that the previous regime was “deeply frustrating” by “not compensating for merit and performance”.
Stressing that in this budget the Government cannot “choose to put all eggs in one basket”, the minister said that the budget includes investments in the modernization of infrastructure for primary health care and in the construction of hospitals.
It’s difficult for them to get off the ground, I know, but the University Hospital Center of São João has an integrated pediatric hospital about to be inaugurated. Therefore, here in Porto, hospitals come out of the paper”, he said, adding that the Government is “trying to move forward” the new Central Alentejo hospital, Sintra hospital, Seixal hospital and Oriental Lisbon hospital.
As for the hospital in Lisbon Oriental, the minister said that she hoped to “award the contract at the beginning of next year”.
Marta Temido also stated that, along with these projects of “greater scope”, another of the commitments that the proposed State Budget for 2022 brings is the “end of the payment of user fees throughout the NHS, except in hospital emergencies”.
It was clear why this is a budget for reinforcement, continuity and that it has very important choices that will help us take more steps towards what we want to achieve, an NHS that is up to what was its response in the most difficult days of its life”, he added.
On Monday night, the Government delivered to the Assembly of the Republic the proposed State Budget for 2022 (OE22), which forecasts that the Portuguese economy will grow 4.8% in 2021 and 5.5% in 2022.
In the document, the executive estimates that the deficit of national public accounts should be 4.3% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021 and fall to 3.2% in 2022, also predicting that the Portuguese unemployment rate will fall to 6.5% next year, “reaching the lowest value since 2003”.
Public debt is expected to reach 122.8% of GDP in 2022, compared to an estimate of 126.9% for this year.
The first parliamentary debate process of OE2022 will take place between October 22nd and 27th, the day on which the general vote will be taken. The final global vote is scheduled for November 25, at the Portuguese Parliament in Lisbon.