“This budget is insufficient for the needs we have, not least because the budget for Health is 13.57 billion euros, but of this amount, what it is for the NHS is around 11 billion euros. In other words, there are around one billion euros less than the National Health Convention itself calculated as an adequate amount to start recovering in the NHS and which is fundamental for the Portuguese”, he told Lusa.
In a first reaction to the document presented Monday night by the government, Miguel Guimarães focused, above all, his criticisms on what he argued was the lack of creation of more attractive conditions to draw professionals to the NHS and the implementation of a policy of incentives.
“I can't help but regret that there isn't a word about what a medical career is. This was the right time, as happened in several European countries, to value the knowledge and competence of doctors", he noted, reiterating: "If I want to hire more doctors, it is not enough to open competitions, it is necessary to create conditions for doctors to fill vacancies”.
Stressing that Portugal has a number of doctors per inhabitant higher than the European average, the president of doctors lamented that the 2022 budget has "a policy for doctors to work more and more overtime", alluding to remunerations higher by 25% for those who do between 250 and 500 overtime hours per year and 50% for more than 500 overtime hours per year.
"The NHS has to be improved, it has to be adapted to the new requirements and it has to have a competitive capacity - whether with the private sector or with other countries - that is truly effective, otherwise we will always lose our doctors", he warned , while emphasising that the executive's budget proposal “is promoting that people do not even rest and that their natural state is to work constantly”.
And he continued: “I don't perceive any measure of valuing people's work, of valuing the career, in essence, of creating even specific incentives to solve problems in the most needy areas”.
In parallel, the OM leader admitted not realising that the autonomy of hospitals for hiring does not apply to doctors and considered that "this is not giving autonomy to hospitals". Furthermore, he defended that autonomy be “duly framed in real budgets”, denouncing the under-budgeting of most hospital units.
Regarding the announced intention of the budget to take steps towards the "full dedication" of professionals to the NHS, Miguel Guimarães was surprised by the government's formulation on this matter, stressing that what is provided for as a work regime within the NHS is the optional exclusive dedication scheme.
“Full dedication I don't know what it is. We also have more than 5,000 dedicated doctors, exists and can work as an option. Full dedication is a completely new term and I don't know exactly what it means, nor the counterparts that full-time doctors have. It is necessary to understand what this means and what are the increases that this full dedication has or does not have”, he sentenced.
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.