Pharmacies that provide night service will decrease from January

Pharmacies that provide night service will decrease from January -

Measure was already being discussed and the cuts will really move forward. Municipalities without emergency services should be the most penalized.

The Government will reduce the number of pharmacies open or available to meet at night by legal imposition. The measure will be applied as of January 1, details the Jornal de Notícias and will penalize mainly the municipalities that do not have emergency services of the National Health Service. The change to the diploma that regulates the shifts and the number of pharmacies in permanent service and availability is not appreciated by the National Association of Municipalities (ANMP) or the National Association of Pharmacies (ANF).

However, any pharmacy may operate overnight as a commercial option, but the population is thus dependent on the market to take advantage of the service.

Currently the law specifies that "in municipalities with emergency services of the National Health Service there should always be a pharmacy permanent shift, adding a pharmacy permanent shift for every 60 thousand inhabitants." However, the new proposal reduces overnight availability to only up to one hour after the local health facility closes. That is, if the health center closes at 9:00 pm the pharmacy works until 10:00 pm.

As Infarmed had clarified to the PUBLIC in July, the proposal also intends to integrate the pharmacies of the bordering counties in the calculations of distances. That is, if there is another establishment in a county less than four kilometers away, the two pharmacies can create a scale, alternating in the rendering of the shift. The issue of alternation was already in the law, but the maximum distance was three kilometers.

In the case of municipalities with emergency services of the National Health Service, municipalities with up to 60,000 inhabitants must have a pharmacy permanently in service at night, and may have another for every additional 80,000 inhabitants (current law was about 60,000 more inhabitants).

The National Association of Municipalities considers that there is a "decrease in the level of service provided to the populations", quotes the JN.

In July, the National Association of Pharmacies and the Ministry of Health announced a project to deliver medicines to patients at night and in emergency situations without users having to travel. "In the night time, the Portuguese in emergency situations will not have to travel, because the drugs will take them whenever necessary," the entity said in a statement. The first city to receive the pilot project for the service will be Bragança.


Source: "Público" newspaper and author on December 12, 2017