In the wake of the economic and financial crisis, public spending cuts on healthcare services have been widespread across Europe, particularly on those countries that signed Memorandum of Understanding with the denominated troika (EU Commission, IMF and European Central Bank), such as Portugal. Now that enougth time has elapsed since the introduction of such budgetary cuts, it is important to understand what were the consequences of such measures for access to care and for health.
The ultimate aim is to provide policy-makers in these and other countries in the European Community with best practices for ensuring and improving access to healthcare services for all persons, particularly those belonging to vulnerable groups.
Case-study methodology is employed to understand the particular factors shaping the outcomes of budgetary cuts to healthcare. These included a literature review of the topic, as well as gathering of statistical information; which serve as the basis for the gathering of primary data through interviews with experts and health professionals. The latter are carried out in relation to exemplary sites of initiatives that aimed to mitigate the effects of budgetary cuts.
As part of the research process, specific initiatives by service providers and governments which may serve to mitigate or decrease the negative impact of the crisis on access to healthcare services in Portugal will be identified.The European Centre will carry out research on the case of access to care in Portugal, and will produce a country report in which mitigating initiatives at the provider level are closely analysed through interviews with relevant policy experts and health professionals.