The National Health Conferences and the planning process of the Brazilian Ministry of Health

ABSTRACT The study aimed to analyze the relationship between the National Health Conferences and the planning process of the Ministry of Health. A qualitative research was conducted based on comparative documentary analysis of the four National Health Plans with the reports of the corresponding Conferences (12th to 15th), identifying references to their influence in the planning process. It was verified that the Conferences mention planning, but, with little prominence. The Plans, in general, do not cite the Conferences as a base, except for the 12th Conference, anticipated to subsidize the 2004-2007 Plan. In order for the Conferences to be more effective, they must indicate priorities and effectively guide the management.