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Investment in the NHS allowed a return of 5.1 billion for the economy

According to the study by Universidade Nova-IMS Information Management School, on average, the Portuguese missed almost six days of work in 2018, which resulted in a loss of 2.2 billion euros.

The investment in the National Health Service in 2018 allowed a return of 5.1 billion for the economy taking into account the impact of health care on absenteeism and productivity, concludes a study presented this Tuesday.

According to data from the Sustainable Health Index, developed by Nova Information Management School (NOVA-IMS), about half of the amount invested in the National Health Service (SNS) in 2018 returned to the economy, taking into account both the days of absence from work that the SNS allowed to avoid and the productivity of these workers.
"The value cannot fail to impress us, as it means that about half of the annual investment of the SNS is returned to the economy in the same year only through the participation of citizens in the labor market", underlined Pedro Simões Coelho, coordinator of the study.

According to the work of NOVA-IMS, on average, the Portuguese missed almost six days (5.9) from work in 2018, which resulted in a loss of 2.2 billion euros. However, the provision of health care through the NHS has prevented the absence from work for another two days (2,4), which represents a saving of 894 million euros.
The reduction in productivity was also measured in this study, which states that for health reasons there would have been a loss equivalent to 12.3 days of work, which translates into a loss of 4.6 billion euros. However, the SNS prevented another 6.8 lost workdays, resulting in savings of 2.5 billion.

The value of the sustainability index dropped in 2018
In total, taking into account the impact on absenteeism and productivity, "we are talking about an economic impact of around 3.4 billion [measured across wages), (...) but the global economic value of the days that the SNS helped not to lose could surpass 5.1 billion ", the coordinator of the study told Lusa.
The value of the sustainability index dropped in 2018 from 103.0 to 100.7 points, but despite this decline, the study highlights the increase in user satisfaction and confidence and a 2.5% increase in SNS activity.

"This decline in the index is not a clear situation (...), it is a mixed situation, where there are some components of the index that go up and others that go down and end, as a whole and in the balance of all, because those that make the index go down ", said Pedro Simões Coelho.

In 2018, there was, for the first time, a reduction in debt to suppliers
However, the official stressed as positive aspects the growth of 2.5% of the activity of the NHS (hospitals and primary health care), "the highest in the last four years", the quality of the NHS that users perceive, which is positive (67 points, from 0 to 100) and debt reduction.

"2018 was a year in which, for the first time, there is a reduction in debt to suppliers", he stressed.
As for the aspects "that pull the index of sustainable health down", the study coordinator highlights the index of technical quality, based on universal indicators, which fell, and the increase in expenditure (2.9%).

"This is an unusual situation, with the design of a system that is improving in activity, in debt and in perceived quality and that is getting worse in other components. The negative ones prevailed", he concluded.

The study also evaluated the global index of health status of the Portuguese, which is at 74.4 points - on a scale from 0 to 100 (ideal health status). If the contribution of the SNS were withdrawn from this index, the value would remain at 54.6 points.

Access to the NHS, user fees and cost of medicines
As for access to the NHS and moderating fees, the study indicates that the Portuguese have an idea of ??values ??above those actually practiced, whether in consultations with the family doctor or in external consultations / specialty in hospitals, even considering that there is a fee moderator in case of hospitalization, when this no longer happens.

In relation to the cost of medicines, the percentage (89.8, plus 0.7) of people who said they had taken drugs prescribed by a doctor in the last year, as well as the percentage of those who take them under long-term therapy ( increased from 59.5 to 68.1).

On the other hand, the percentage of those who, due to financial reasons, did not buy any of the drugs prescribed by the doctor, dropped from 10.8 to 8.9.

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