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Unprecedented decline in the number of health care acts performed in 2020
World Health Day - 7 April
Unprecedented decline in the number of health care acts performed in 2020
06 April 2022


On the occasion of the World Health Day that will be celebrated tomorrow, Statistic Portugal publishes a new edition of the publication "Estatísticas da Saúde" (Health Statistics in English), with statistical indicators for 2020. This information is particularly relevant, given that it relates to the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, although it was not possible to obtain some data, namely mortality by causes of death in 2020.

The following results stand out:

In 2020, there were 57,198 doctors in Portugal, 3.2% more than in 2019, and 77,984 nurses, 2.9% more than in the previous year.

Hospital activity was strongly affected by the pandemic context in 2020, leading to an unprecedented decline in the number of health care acts provided. Emergency care attendances and hospitalisations recorded the lowest values in the series started in 1999. There were also strong decreases in the number of surgeries in operating room, medical appointments and diagnostic and/or therapeutic complementary acts performed in hospitals.

The epidemiological situation of 2020 had repercussions on the activity of both public and private providers. Urgency was the most affected hospital service, regardless of the type of provider. The activity of private hospitals suffered clear breaks in diagnosis and/or therapeutic acts (-20.6%) and medical external appointments (-18.3%).

Public or public-private partnership hospitals continued in 2020 to be the main providers of health services, ensuring 83.2% of emergency care, 74.9% of hospitalisations, 69.6% of surgeries in operating room and 65.1% of medical appointments.

People who have completed a higher education or with higher income are more likely to assess their health status as good or very good (22.2 pp more likely than those who have completed, at most, basic education; 0.10 pp more likely for a 1% increase in equivalent monetary income).

Higher education and higher income are also related to a decrease in the probability of suffering limitations in carrying out usual activities: 10.1 pp less likely than for those who have completed higher education in comparison to those who have completed basic education or no level of education at all; 0.04 pp less likely for a 1% increase in equivalent monetary income.

See the Publication

Press release
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