Minister of Health: Resorting to private maternity hospitals allows for “quality and safety”

Holder of the Health portfolio said that the Government is working to “overcome this climate that is installed and find a more stable solution”

Health Minister Manuel Pizarro highlighted today that the use of private maternity hospitals to care for low-risk pregnant women in Lisbon and the Tagus Valley allows for assistance “with quality and safety”.

“As just yesterday [Sunday] proved, the measures taken by the executive management of the National Health Service (SNS), namely resorting, if necessary, to the provision of services by private maternity hospitals, allow all people to be attended with quality and safety,” he said.

Manuel Pizarro, who was speaking to journalists in Serpa, in the district of Beja, outside the Saúde Aberta initiative, was referring to the case of a pregnant woman who was transferred, on Sunday, from Hospital de Santa Maria to a private maternity hospital.

Admitting that "there is a situation of conflict that has aggravated the functioning of the service", the holder of the Health portfolio said that the Government is working to "overcome this climate that is installed and find a more stable solution".

“In this case, a pregnant lady was just sent to a private hospital. Everything went very well. The system is organized and running smoothly”, she underlined.

The official admitted that he is not satisfied, since he wanted that "this conflict did not exist and that there was no need to resort to third-party services", but asked users to feel calm.

“Pregnant women who seek Santa Maria will be adequately treated in Santa Maria itself, if the clinical situation justifies it, or, in a private hospital, where we will send people with all the follow-up, if appropriate”, he said.

Asked whether this system could be replicated in other areas of the country, the minister indicated that the Government had only identified “this difficulty in the region of Lisbon and the Tagus Valley” and that “other maternity hospitals have been functioning adequately”.

Regarding the new national strike called by the Independent Doctors' Union (SIM) for the 25th, 26th and 27th of this month, Manuel Pizarro stressed that his ministry is still in dialogue with the medical profession.

“I am committed to dialogue, I recognize the right to strike in a context, but I think there is something strange when we are at the same time scheduling strikes and negotiation meetings”, he pointed out.

According to the minister, meetings are scheduled for this week with the two doctors' unions.