Prisoners of Faro already have access to teleconsultations: «It is a humanization step»

Currently, there are already 12 prisons in the country that benefit from this alternative.

Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação

The afternoon of Wednesday, March 1, began differently for one of the inmates of the Prison of Faro, who opened the first teleconsultation of the prison. This is a feature that will «make it possible for prisoners to have a greater frequency of consultations and, therefore, bring about better management both from an internal point of view and also from the SNS», believes Catarina Sarmento e Castro, Minister of Justice. 

Despite the Prison Establishments already having their own health services, the minister, who attended yesterday, in Faro, at this first consultation, considers this to be «a step towards humanization».

«People who are in a situation of seclusion are also users of the National Health Service and, therefore, we also need to be able to make them fully enjoy the valences of the SNS», Catarina Sarmento e Castro told journalists during the visit that took place in the under the “Government + Next” program in the Algarve.

On the other side of the screen was the doctor Ulisses Brito, specializing in pneumology, but also the Minister of Health Manuel Pizarro, who, together with the Minister of Justice, inaugurated this facility in the Algarve.

Teleconsultations are, however, nothing new and are currently in operation in 12 prisons in the country.

«Another step that we are going to take, for which we are working with the PRR, is to unify the files. At the moment, the information regarding people in prison, in terms of health, is internal and we want to move towards having a single file, so that it is indifferent whether the person is in prison today and free tomorrow, or also when they enter we can have this vision of the specific health circumstances of that person, so that we can also, here, provide a better service», Catarina Sarmento e Castro said, stressing that what the Ministry has sought to do is «to transform living conditions» of inmates and also of prison professionals.


Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


Teleconsultations are, from the 1st of March, available to all prisoners of Faro, which at the moment are 150. The booking will depend on the availability of the SNS.

«Everything is a challenge when it starts, but the truth is that we are managing to meet this challenge, because we already have the equipment on both sides», continues Catarina Sarmento e Castro. For the minister, the importance of this consultation is also that of «giving a signal to these people who are in a situation of reclusion that life goes on and they will leave here».

José Joaquim Pedreira, director of the Prison of Faro, also talks about the benefits inherent to the displacement of prisoners, which, with this valence, are no longer so frequent.

The lack of human resources is, according to the director, a reality, and these consultations mean that «it is the hospital itself that talks to the inmate and the displacement only has to be made out of strict necessity», he says.


Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


at the hospital of Faro, the Minister of Health also highlighted these benefits. «What we are trying to guarantee is that people who are in prison have access to specialist consultations on the SNS in a way that is less disruptive to the life of the prison establishments».

Manuel Pizarro stressed, however, "that this solution does not eliminate the necessary face-to-face consultations".

Although the system is not yet in operation in all prisons in the country, the Minister of Justice says that "all prisons have conditions" for teleconsultations to take place.


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