Miércoles, 18 Enero 2023

The competence of administrative and fiscal courts in judicial cases arising from the execution of Vale Cirurgia


In the event that a surgical voucher (Vale Cirurgia) has been issued and, following this, the user has undergone medical intervention in a private hospital unit, the administrative and fiscal courts have the competence to settle any disputes arising from that medical act.

In effect, although the patient in question is accompanied in a private hospital entity, the patient only booked and undertook that surgery in that institution because he obtained a surgery voucher issued by a public hospital entity within the National Health Service (SNS) and, consequently, this is considered, for the purposes of the material jurisdiction of the courts, a relationship that should be examined by the administrative and fiscal courts.

It is recalled that the issue of a surgery voucher occurs following a public hospital's acknowledgement that it is unable to comply with the maximum guaranteed response time (TMRG) and, after issuing a transfer order, that it is not possible to provide the patient with medical care in the public hospital network.

In this way, even if the patient is followed up in a private hospital - because this is what he has chosen - he is still considered as a patient of the hospital of origin and thus included in the SNS hospital network.

In this context, the decision of the Tribunal da Relação of Évora of 22/11/2018, available at www.dgsi.pt, recognises that "Article 1(5) of Law 67/2007, of 31 December, states that "the provisions of this law regulating the liability of legal persons governed by public law, (... ), for damages arising from the exercise of the administrative function, are also applicable to the civil liability of legal persons governed by private law and their employees, (...), for actions or omissions they adopt in the exercise of prerogatives of public power or which are regulated by provisions or principles of administrative law". The referred judicial decision also stipulates in its summary that "The rules that constitute chapter I of the Legal Framework of Hospital Management (RJGH), applicable to private establishments, are composed of general principles to be observed in the provision of healthcare (art. 4), specific principles of hospital management (art. 5) and by the set of rules that define the powers of the State, exercised by the Ministry of Health, in relation to hospitals integrated in the healthcare provision network (art. 6 to 8)". This decision therefore concludes that "Disputes on the extra-contractual civil liability of private hospitals providing healthcare within the scope of the Integrated Sistema Integrado de Gestão de Inscritos para Cirurgia (SIGIC), by virtue of the agreement entered into with the Regional Health Administration for the provision of such care, fall within the competence of administrative courts".

In the same sense, the decision of the Tribunal da Relação of Coimbra of 17/09/2019, available at www.dgsi.pt, states that "Medical acts performed in a hospital that collaborates with the National Health Service (SNS) and pursues the tasks legally entrusted to it are thus integrated into the administrative function".

In short, in the event that legal action is sought to settle a dispute arising from a medical act performed in a private hospital - namely a situation of medical error or medical negligence - it will be up to the administrative and tax courts to decide this case, provided that the surgical intervention has been performed under a surgical voucher issued in favour of the patient.

Belzuz has a team of lawyers with experience in analysing situations of this nature and, in particular, confirmation of the elements necessary for the issue and execution of the surgery voucher.


 Ricardo Meireles Vieira Ricardo Meireles Vieira 


Belzuz Abogados SLP

La presente publicación contiene información de carácter general sin que constituya opinión profesional ni asesoría jurídica. © Belzuz Abogados, S.L.P., quedan reservados todos los derechos. Se prohíbe la explotación, reproducción, distribución, comunicación pública y transformación total o parcial, de esta obra, sin autorización escrita de Belzuz Abogados, S.L.P.


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