Good morning to you all, and thank you for inviting me, as your guest speaker at the AFPOP meeting of this morning. Today we will speak about healthcare, which in the last years has become a hot item. Throughout Europe we hear complaints about poor assistance, in comparison to what it was before.
Before starting I would like to ask you if it is all right for me to speak in English today, as I think this is the language most of the people gathered here will understand. Off course in case of any doubts or misunderstanding due to language, I am willing to explain things in another language (German, Portuguese or Dutch). Furthermore I hope you will interrupt me if you have any questions that matter.
As the coordinator of our fairly young and modest homecare association, it’s quite some honour for me to stand here before you. To be honest, speaking for an audience like this doesn’t belong to my daily routine, but I hope I can provide you with some useful information.
Well as you probably already heard, my name is Theo Boom. Normally I explain that this means Tree in Dutch, but Theo Tree is such a common name, so I won’t mention it again. My profession is physiotherapist and radio therapeutic technician. I come from The Hague in Holland, where I lived and worked until some five years ago, until I moved to Faro. The reason why I am living here is that I met a Portuguese lady, who is my wife nowadays on a holiday in the Algarve and after some years of travelling between two countries we decided that Portugal was the best place to live for us.
So as I came to Portugal I started legalising my diplomas, which was quite a bureaucratic event, and shortly after that I started looking for a job. Through the Dutch Consulate in Faro I came in contact with the SZA, the organisation that I work for now. SZA stands for Stichting Zorgverlening Algarve and translated this means: Foundation Homecare Algarve, this is a Dutch organisation that exists now for about six years and one of the reasons why it was raised, was to give continuity to home nursing and caring for Dutch citizens who live abroad and in this particular case in the Algarve.
First I would like to explain you a little bit about the Dutch healthcare system, to make clear what our organisation has done until so far. After this I will say something about the Portuguese healthcare system and the role we want to play in this.
In Holland, unlike in many other countries roughly we have divided healthcare in two parts. First we have the regular healthcare like visiting: Your family doctor the General Practitioner, a Medical Specialist, a Dentist, the Physiotherapist, Hospital care, etc. And like in most countries the normal healthcare insurance companies, private or mutual (public), depending your income cover this. Under a certain level of income people pay for public mutual healthcare and above this level of income people are obliged to pay for private healthcare. There is however only a small difference in the level of medical assistance. Next to this we also have extraordinary healthcare belonging to the AWBZ law (General Law Extraordinary Healthcare). Psychiatrically care, Institutional care and Homecare make part of it. In our country this is a right that everybody has and is part of our social security system just like social benefit, elderly pensions, or benefits for handicapped people. The costs for this care are covered by the social funds.
So as I told you that Home nursing care in Holland is part of this extraordinary healthcare and as people pay premium for this throughout their life, also the residents in the Algarve, although they moved abroad, felt that they continued to have right to this part of social security where they already had paid for their whole life. This seemed to be truth, so that is how we started working.
In the meantime we have been providing in this extraordinary