Portuguese Parliament supports patients’ initiative on public participation in health

Article by Margarida Santos and Sofia Crisostomo (MAIS PARTICIPAÇÃO melhor saúde)

The Charter for Public Participation in Health was approved by the Portuguese Parliament in July, with 85% of MPs voting in favour of the legal initiative. The Charter was initially developed by the MORE PARTICIPATION better health initiative – a group of Portuguese patient and health service user organisations. The group also collected more than 4000 signatures for the Charter to be discussed at the Parliament.

This is a great victory for patient and health service user organisations in Portugal. It shows that a civil society initiative, supported by an alliance of various health stakeholder, can succeed in a bottom-up approach to health policy making. 

Next October, after the legislative elections take place and a new Ministry of Health comes into office, it will be the time to push for the implementation of the Charter for Public Participation in Health at the various levels and institutions of the National Health Service.