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Reform Support
Supporting reforms to reinforce efficient and high quality public administrations

Supporting reforms to reinforce efficient and high quality public administrations

Funding Programme
  • 2020

Reconfiguring the hospital networks of the Portuguese National Health Service 

The Commission supports Portugal in improving the efficiency and accessibility of its hospital sector, particularly through the organisation of its hospital networks.


Portugal is confronted with several challenges to the quality, accessibility, and financial sustainability of its National Health Service (NHS). An ageing population with chronic conditions and comorbidities is driving demand for (integrative) health services upwards. The current unbalanced distribution of hospital workforce, services and infrastructure makes it more difficult for people from the countryside to access the services they need. Moreover, new technologies often have a disruptive effect and can lead to sudden increases in expenditure. In turn, this contributes to growing debt, during a period of low economic growth and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  

Support delivered

This project offers support for analysing current hospital capacities, bottlenecks, demand for hospital services, estimating future demand and supply of hospital services. It is also offers support for the design of a hospital network master plan. This will be complemented by hands-on support for public authorities and hospitals when the implementation of the policy recommendations and provisions of the master plan are given.

Results achieved

The project will result in a detailed overview of the current hospital capacities and bottlenecks and of demand for hospital services. It will also include:

  • A forecast model of future demand and supply of hospital services.
  • A hospital network master plan.
  • Concrete recommendations on the implementation of hospital network models.

Overall, the project aims at strengthening the Portuguese authorities capacity to improve the fiscal sustainability, accessibility, and quality of service of the NHS hospital networks.