Decree-Law 127/2014 of 22 August, establishing the legal regime of the opening, modification and operation of healthcare establishments was published in the Official Gazette. This new regime establishes the licensing of public health units and units held by social entities, which had been claimed by many for a long time.

The new legal regime applies to healthcare establishments whatever their denomination, legal nature or entity holder of the exploration, including establishments owned by IPSSs, Private Institutions of Social Solidarity (except those who provide continued integrated care within the National Network of Integrated Care) and public bodies, consequently revoking the Decree-Law 279/2009 of 6 October, which established the legal regime of private health units.

It should be noted that, with the new legal regime, the Health Regulatory Authority becomes the entity with exclusive competence for licensing these health units; for this purpose, the respective statutes were adapted pursuant to Decree-Law 126/2014 of 22 August.

In practical terms, the health units held by public bodies and IPSSs shall await the publication of ministerial orders that will define the technical operational requirements in order to initiate the process of adapting to new licensing rules, in regards to which the Government has a period of 120 days to approve the resolutions.

In relation to private health units licensed under the previous regime, their licenses remain valid. The resolutions that approved the operational requirements of the various categories under the previous regime will also remain in force until the new resolutions are approved.