During our recent trip to the Algarve we had to make use of Portugal's public medical facilities when our son had an allergic reaction to an insect bite. This bite, on his cheek, resulted in swelling to face
and almost complete closure of his eye. It looked like he'd been in the ring with Anthony Joshua!
Normally, in situations like this, our first port of call is the medical clinic run by the HPA Saúde Group in Vila Real de Santo António (Centro Medico Internacional on the map of Vila Real de Santonio above). This is a private hospital Group, which charges a fee to see the Doctor (typically €50). On previous visits we have been seen very speedily and language hasn't been an issue. Unfortunately, our son's allergic reaction occurred on New years Day and this meant that the clinic was shut. We subsequently found out the clinic is open 8 am - 8 pm Monday to Friday, 8 am - 5 pm on Saturday but shut on Sundays and Public holidays.
After a brief panic, we found out that the public A&E/Clinic just around the corner was open (Centro de Saude on the map above). We were expecting a long wait, but I guess we were lucky that not many people were presenting sick at noon on New Years Day. Paperwork was dealt with efficiently by the receptionist (we did need the EU E111 medical card for free treatment - not sure what will happen for UK visitors after Brexit - I assume travel insurance will cover any charges) and our Son was seen by the Doctors and prescription supplied for antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines within 40 minutes. The facilities, waiting room and triage rooms are not as modern as the private clinic, but the service was equally as good.
The morale of the story is that the Portuguese Public Medical Service was, for us, very efficient and professional.