Doctors and dentists
When vital medical care is required it is useful to be able to communicate in your mother tongue in order to provide important clinical information about your health. In the Algarve there are a number of medical clinics and multilingual dental practices, many of which have a network of medical experts. However, there are clinics that do not accept credit cards for payment. Some of these practices have 24-hour availability, although the doctors' fees for consultations and treatment outside normal hours are considerably higher.
In the cities of Lagos, Faro and Portimão there are general district hospitals and also private hospitals and who can see patients by appointment or as “walk-ins”.. The general district hospitals and the equivalent of the national health service are relatively cheap. Generally, payment is effected in cash and in most cases, the staff do not speak English. The service is quite different in the modern and well equipped "Algarve Private Hospital" based in Alvor and Portimão and, since 2009, , there is also branch in Faro (Gambelas). In addition, there are private clinics in AlgarveShopping - Albufeira (Guide), the International Health Centres Albufeira, Medchique Clinic in Monchique and the Private Clinic of Vilamoura. These institutions accept credit cards and communication in English is no problem.
In the Algarve districts there are health centres where people can walk in off the street without an appointment, so the number of patients is often quite large. As with all public service institutions, on entering the patient has to take a ticket from a machine, usually by the entrance, and wait for that number to be called. The waiting time can often be long. For emergency cases, health centres have a 24-hour service. In addition, in the local parishes there are smaller branches of these centres. All these public health institutions require prepayment and do not accept credit cards. In addition, communication in English is not always possible.
In each of the 16 municipalities in the Algarve and in most parishes there is at least one chemist, where you can usually communicate in English. Payment by credit card is not always possible.
Accident and Emergency
The Accident and Emergency service of the Algarve has available pre-hospital emergency transport including4 fully equipped SIV ambulances, based in Lagos, Faro, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António, 3 emergency medical vehicles with resuscitation equipment based in Portimao, Albufeira and Faro and 1 INEM based at the Loule heliport based in Loulé, and there is also an Emergency Patients Guidance Center (CODU).
In 2006 a new health facility - South Rehabilitation Medicine Center (CMRSul) came into operation - with an inpatient capacity of 54 beds. Based in São Brás, it is focused on the treatment and recovery of those who have been in motor accidents, spinal cord injuries, skull-head trauma, stroke and other illnesses such as neurological, rheumatic, orthopaedic, cardiovascular and pulmonary in origin.