Health care portugal

Getting health care in Portugal. Part 2

Health card part 2

Well here goes, I have every thing I need to register for our health care in Portugal, I have my 5 year residencia and my passport  so I head off to the health centre, my Portuguese is better and I know what I need to ask for and how.

I arrive at the first desk and am again told I am in the wrong place, but I am armed today, I know what I am doing, then she explains the wrong place is the wrong desk, I need to go down the corridor.

Now feel a bit of a prat, is this what she meant the first time?

First hurdle over come, I have made it past the doctors receptionist, so on to the next desk.

Sorry wrong desk, you need the next corner, this was easier as she said it in English, I am almost at the finish point!

Final desk, my speech is prepared in Portuguese and I am answered by sorry I don´t speak English, I never asked you too!!!!!

She then gets up and almost runs off, I know I spoke correctly, but I am assuming I still have a sat nav accent, I had this in France and some people, no matter how much french I spoke just never understood me.

She returns with the lady from desk number two, so I ask again in Portuguese and again she replies in English.

They are inputting all the forms, when they hit a problem, we need your social security number, no you don´t the woman at social security told me, OK well we need another number and nobody knows what it is, they go and get more people and nobody can get past the screen on the computer.

The final woman writes me a note saying I have to go to SEF in Santarem to finish regularising myself in Portugal


I leave and the following morning I make the journey to Santarem. I find the SEF and pay for a few hours parking as I know how long the waits can be.

I ask a passing police man where the building is and he replies, all in Portuguese, is this a good omen?

I go into the building and the guy on reception speaks perfect English, I explain what I want, show him the note I received yesterday from the centre de saude and then show him my residencia certificate, he looks at it, looks at me and then checks it again before saying, this is what you need.

Pardon, I say a little confused, and he replies you have all you need, the people at the centre de saude must not understand their system, you need nothing from us.

I leave not sure if I am relived or really naffed off at a wasted journey.

But I have just found out what a beautiful historical city centre Santarem has, so always a silver lining, my next revelation is never drive into Santarem historical city centre, my sat nav is going in to over drive, trying to take me down the tiniest cobbled streets, I ignore it, there must be a better way out and then I notice there are saida signs on the cobbled streets, the city actually has exit signs and these are the tiny cobbled streets, I go down one and luckily a car follows me so I know I am right, my heart is in my mouth as I make my way out of the city.

I head back to the centre de suãude armed with my new information to get the same woman, which is lucky as she recognises me, but it is the woman who does not feel comfortable speaking English, so we have the conversation in my broken Portuguese, until we both get stuck and then she tells me in English, I need another number.


I didn´t actually shout it, but I really wanted to, at this point I gave up, my Portuguese is not good enough to argue yet and it is unfair to expect her to argue in English.

But i have done all I can do, I know I have all the correct documents, I visited SEF I have visited social security, I have checked the websites, I have asked on the facebook groups, I know I have everything and we should be in the system, but,

The computer says no!

There is nothing more I can do.

I am going home and handing it over to our advogada and asking her to sort it out

Don’t forget to have a look at our new face book page

Portugalholidays4u Face book page



4 comments on “Getting health care in Portugal. Part 2

  1. On the other hand, I know a handful of people in the US who can’t get health insurance, period


  2. How totally frustrating!


  3. Yes but now we have a professional on the case so its fingers crossed


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