If you need medical treatment as a result of a crime, do not hesitate to seek it immediately.

Inform the healthcare professional who attends you that your injuries are the result of a crime and do remember that the medical report is very important for criminal proceedings, or for any compensation claim or insurance claim.

The Portuguese health service comprises three co-existing systems:

  • Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS) -National Health Service – which provides universal coverage
  • special social health insurance for certain professions (healthcare sub-systems)
  • private voluntary health insurance

Health institutions may be divided in three types:

  • hospitals- located in the main cities and larger towns, they offer highly specialised health care, such as surgical procedures and appointments for different specialities;
  • health centres (Centros de Saúde and Unidades de Saúde Familiar) – they provide appointments for some medical specialities, appointments with your family doctor, nursing treatments and minor surgical procedures;
  • medical centres (Postos Médicos) – located mainly in parish centres, they provide appointments with family doctors and primary nursing treatment.

Apart from the public sector, there are also private hospitals and clinics.
For more information on healthcare services, please click here.


The emergency telephone number in Portugal is 112 (European Emergency Number).
Calls are free and the service operates 24 hours a day all year round.

The 112 emergency number is linked to the Integrated Medical Emergency System (Sistema Integrado de Emergência Médica, SIEM), which comprises several organisations working towards the common objective of providing assistance to accident victims or people who are taken ill suddenly.

These organisations are the Public Safety Police (Polícia de Segurança Pública, PSP),
the National Republican Guard (Guarda Nacional Republicana, GNR),
the National Medical Emergency Institute (Instituto Nacional de Emergência Médica, INEM),
the Fire Services (Bombeiros),
the Portuguese Red Cross (Cruz Vermelha Portuguesa, CVP),
and hospitals and health centres.

INEM is the section of the Ministry of Health responsible for coordinating SIEM operations in mainland Portugal.
The system is activated when someone calls the emergency line 112.
The calls are answered at the emergency call centres by the PSP. When the call is health-related, it will be relayed to INEM’s Urgent Patient Orientation Centres (Centros de Orientação de Doentes Urgentes, CODU).
When the CODU activates an emergency resource, it looks for the service closest to where the emergency took place, regardless of which institution it belongs to (INEM, Fire Service, or the Portuguese Red Cross).


A health helpline is available 24 hours a day all year round at local call rates:
Linha Saúde 24 – 808 24 24 24.

This phone helpline aims to improve accessibility to services and rationalise the use of the existing resources by directing users to the services provided by the National Health Service (Serviço Nacional de Saúde) that best fit their needs.


Services available through the health line include:

  • screening, advice and referrals in the event of illness, accessible from any phone or via chat for those with special needs;
  • therapeutic advice over the phone, to clarify any issues and provide support for medication questions;
  • public health assistance (Assistência em Saúde Pública), dealing with flu, summer/heat and emergencies/intoxication, and accessible by phone, contact form, email and fax;
  • general health information (Informação Geral de Saúde), including the location of health institutions that are part of the National Health Service) and pharmacies, accessible by phone, contact form, email or fax.


I was a victim of crime Victim's rights Criminal court proceedings Who is who

Support services Useful contacts Glossary

Quiz Map

Top Map Exit