Private hospitals with emergencies? Only with license and the same resources as SNS

Private health units can only advertise emergency services if they have appropriate licenses, fulfilling the same technical and human resources requirements required of the National Health Service, the regulator warns this Wednesday.

In a supervisory alert issued today, the Health Regulatory Authority (ERS) says it became aware of several advertising practices aimed at “Emergency Services” (ED), “Permanent Care Services” (SAP) or services described with similar expressions made available by private healthcare providers “without such services being effectively included in the operating licenses” they held.

Remember that the US of private units “must guarantee, by analogy, compliance with the legal framework applicable to identical public services”, namely, the existence of the minimum resources determined for the US of the National Health Service (SNS ) “given the similarity of the service provided and the equal need to guarantee minimum resources to safeguard the quality and safety of the care provided”.

The ERS considers that, to allow an efficient and adequate response in an urgent situation, an SU of a private unit must guarantee, at a minimum, in addition to compliance with the technical and equipment requirements, the human resources defined for the Basic Emergency Service (SUB) typology.

In relation to the SUB, remember that, in terms of human resources, the legislation requires two doctors and two nurses in physical presence, Diagnostic and Therapy Technician(s) appropriate professional areas, according to the diversity of exams to be carried out, an Operational Assistant with the functions of medical assistant and a Technical Assistant, per team.

It also emphasizes that it is its understanding that a permanent care service must be available 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays, with the physical presence of medical and nursing staff.

In the supervision alert, ERS also recalls that citizens have the right to decide, in a free and informed way, about the health care offered to them and to freely choose the entity providing health care , to the extent of existing resources, “this free choice being directly dependent on the prior information provided”.

Considering the perception of users when looking for emergency services, he says that it is “expected that the advertising of the services in question represents the provision of means equivalent to those foreseen for the emergency services of the National Health Service”.

Therefore, remember that advertising practices referring to the provision of emergency services, or that use expressions related to the context of “urgency”, without the providers holding the operating license that contemplate the provision of this type of healthcare, they are considered prohibited, as they are likely to mislead users.

In the same vein, advertising practices referring to the provision of healthcare in permanent care services, or that use terminologies directly associated with the SAP concept, without the providers holding the license necessary are also considered prohibited, as they may also mislead users.

ERS informs that violation of the decree-law that establishes the legal regime for health advertising practices is punishable by fines of 250 euros to 3,740 euros, or 1,000 euros to 44,891 euros, depending on the case. of a natural or legal person. The diploma also punishes negligence.

Therefore, depending on the severity of the infraction, the potential impact and the fault of the agent, additional sanctions of seizure of media, objects or goods used, prohibition of temporary exclusion from carrying out professional or advertising activities or “deprivation of rights or benefits granted by regulatory entities or public services, up to a limit of two years”.


Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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