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Old 20th February 2013, 06:17 PM
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We have been taking holidays in Portugal for many years and love the country. We have recently taken early retirement and intend to move to the Algarve in August this year, for 6 months to start with, to see whether we would like to move out permanently. We have rented a property and are now in the process of making our travel plans.

One of the things I am trying to understand is how we stand in terms of medical care during our temporary stay. My husband is on regular medication and will be able to obtain 3 months worth of tablets before we leave the UK but will need a further prescription for 3 months worth of medication until we are back in the UK. Can we register with a doctor on arrival, or will we just need to find a doctor when we need treatment or a repeat prescription (using EU card? All advice is appreciated.

Thanks,
Jan

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Old 21st February 2013, 07:00 AM
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You can get medical care with your UK EHIC it's valid whilst you are a UK Resident (so you must live in UK 183+ days py)
You can't register with a Doctor and would go to the normal Centro de Saude in your area and see a Doctor, either with an appointment or the drop in clinic using the EHIC and you'll need your Passport.

I would suggest you have a letter from your Doctor for medication and why, generally first thing a Portuguese Doc does is to get all blood checked before they'll prescribe, personally I'd check if your Dr would give you medication for your planned stay.

You should keep any receipts for appointments, treatment, medication (should have your name printed on them) etc because as a UK Resident with a valid EHIC used for above you can re-claim any charges from Social Security here or UK on return.

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Old 21st February 2013, 02:56 PM
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Canoemans suggestion to get a doctors letter from the uk is a good idea. Also, would it be possible for someone in the Uk to collect your repeat prescription and send it to you in Portugal.

The only problem I can foresee is that the EHIC is specifically designed to cover emergency treatment only, so the doctor in Portugal could refuse repeat preseciptions or treatment for any chronic conditions, and they would be perfectly within their rights to do so.

Registration with a doctor/health centre in Portugal is based on permanent residency and unless you spend more than 1/2 your time inPortugal then you are not permanent.

It might be better, in your case to get private medical cover for the time you are in Portugal.

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Old 21st February 2013, 03:55 PM
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Chronic conditions require treatment organized prior to leaving UK, like dialysis etc, as Bubbles says EHIC is supposed to be for emergency cover although in practice generally covers you, but is not a replacement for health insurance which covers the things EHIC doesn't like repatriation.

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Old 21st February 2013, 05:28 PM
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Hello, further to good info from Canoeman, and Bubbles.

I was previously in a similar position as yourselves, and due to having to wait 3 weeks for my first medical consultation, on the off-chance I popped in to the local farmacia and took my UK medications instructions info paperwork, and asked the farmacist if they could provide me with my prescribed medication from the UK, I was pleasantly surprised when they said they would sell me my requirements, cautioned with a...yes, but next time get a prescription

The cost was of course was elevated, but at the time vital to me, and I got my medication.

It is of course essential, that you register asap with your local Centro de Saude (CdeS)...and, equally vital to register with the Servico Nacional de Saude (SNS) which is the National Health Service here in Portugal.

This registration can also be done at the Centro de Saude, where you will be issued with an A4 paper certificate with your SNS Number (Patient Number) and date of inscription etc.

One important point...financially...is that once you are registered, your prescriptions issued by the medico will in most cases be subsidised, and therefore cheaper than buying them independently.

Hope this helps...Boa Saude (Good Health)

PS: During my awaited SNS consultation, I did make an urgent Private health consultation on another matter, which cost me 70 for the consultation.

PPS: One very important point I should make re:
Getting stuff sent from the UK...allow for postal delays!

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Old 21st February 2013, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbles67 View Post
...It might be better, in your case to get private medical cover for the time you are in Portugal.
Since you are foreseeing that you will need the prescription many months in advance of the need itself, would it be cheaper to book now a quick return flight to UK for end October for 2-3 days and get your medicines in UK while there?

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Old 21st February 2013, 06:37 PM
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Why? it's totally unnecessary

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Old 21st February 2013, 06:52 PM
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If the EHIC is only for emergencies and does not cover chronic medical care, and if the alternative is to contract some private insurance for 6 months, or pay huge fees at some private clinic, it may be cheaper to fly back to UK for 2-3 days. That's why I suggested it. But then, Canoeman, you live there, so you may know better.

Ronnie_Yook above had to pay 70 euros for just the private emergency consultation - not counting the costs of any treatment thereafter. An Easyjet ticket could well be 1/4th of that amount if taken months in advance.

What I do know is that private care is bl....y expensive anywhere in Western or Northern Europe, and I know because I am not covered by any national insurance scheme and have my own private insurance and have had it for the last 20 years. So private care=£££££££

------------------------------------------
Edit: taking private medical insurance in Portugal for 6 months --- but... is it possible that this insurance excludes the present chronic condition of the patient, or ups premiums?


Last edited by titania; 21st February 2013 at 06:56 PM. Reason: added paragraph
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Old 21st February 2013, 08:52 PM
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How's this for a question?

I receive my State Pension and fill in my S1 for me and my family...OK so far.

I pop my clogs so are my family still entitled to the benefits of the EHIC as my wife would be a widow or would she have to get private health cover?

By the way my wife is 14 years younger than me.

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Old 22nd February 2013, 06:46 AM
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If she's and your daughter are registered in the Portuguese Social Security and NHS that would continue but I believe her and your daughters right to a UK (pensioners) issued EHIC card for treatment in EU outside of Portugal would cease and they would need to get new EHIC cards issued by Portuguese Social Security.

Titania EHIC card does cover chronic care it just must be arranged prior to a visit to any EU country and advice from UK NHS is that everyone should have some insurance when visiting any EU country and not to rely solely on card. Ronnie could have used the national services via Urgencia but chose to go private, visitors with us and I appreciate not all Centro de Saude are the same but like us they can book an appointment with a Doc normally within a few days or wait at the drop in clinic

Cheap flights thing of the past

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