Ana Varges Gomes criticizes the low budget of the future Algarve Local Health Unit

Chairman of the Board of Directors of CHUA is leaving and there is already talk about the name of his successor

Ana Varges Gomes – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

The president of the Board of Directors of the Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve (CHUA) criticized this Thursday the low budget foreseen for the future Local Health Unit, the new structure that will manage the sector in the Algarve region from January, bringing together CHUA and the Regional Health Administration.

Speaking of inauguration of the new Algarve Ophthalmological Center, which occupies part of the Terras do Infante Hospital, in Lagos, and will serve the entire region, Ana Varges Gomes highlighted: «we have a Local Health Unit (ULS) that will come into operation in January, with an expected budget of 520 million euros, for a region that has a population resident of around 450 thousand inhabitants and another 400 thousand, on average, who are here, but who are not from here».

Now, he added, «this budget is only half of what is the budget of other ULS, whose differentiated care is not exactly the same as ours», being less demanding and, therefore, needing fewer resources.

In addition to the real population of the Algarve, which, on average, including tourists and immigrants, is double that indicated by statistics, «we are the end of the line [in terms of differentiated health care], there is no one other than us . From here, just to Lisbon».

But it wasn't just Ana Varges Gomes, who is even leaving the presidency of CHUA, to criticize the underfunding of the sector in the region.

Socialist António Miguel Pina, president of the Olhão Municipal Council and the Algarve Intermunicipal Community (AMAL), also did not hold back in his words of criticism.

In fact, regarding the new Algarve Ophthalmological Center, which only advanced because 14 of the 16 Algarve municipalities, through AMAL, came forward and guaranteed a large part of the financing, António Pina had already expressed his tiredness that «it will always be us, mayors, to be called to replace the functions of the central State».

But the president of AMAL went further: «it is necessary to rethink the way in which the National Health Service is financed in the Algarve, since, in this region, the SNS is «very poorly financed in relation to our economic and social reality».

The fact is that, highlighted the mayor of Olhão, the future ULS will not only serve the 450 thousand people that statistics say reside in the region. «I really don't know if ULS won't serve a million people», he warned.

«We will have to find another way to be financed», he said, adding: «we, mayors, have to demand from the Government that the Algarve has another type of financing». In healthcare and other sectors.


Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação


Oncologist Ana Varges Gomes is not the Minister of Health's choice for presidency of the future ULS, a position that should be assumed by economist António Ferreira, former president of the Executive Committee of Braga Hospital. To what the Sul Informação found, from the current Board of Directors of CHUA, only Paulo Neves, executive member, should remain in the structure of the new ULS.

But Ana Gomes does not want to leave the presidency of CHUA without saying what she thinks about the health situation in the Algarve and her own work. And, at the same time, show itself to be a defender of effective regionalization.

In yesterday's session, argued that the opening of the Algarve Ophthalmological Center is «without a doubt, another example that, when the region comes together, it can do extraordinary things».

«When we act as if we were an autonomous region (deep down, that's what we should be), we can do incredible things. And, right now, that's what we need, is to all come together to do incredible things».

«We don't need to invent anything: when autonomous regions exist, there are mechanisms through which we could hire doctors, attract them here», he recalled.

«The Algarve has already demonstrated that it is capable. He showed this during the pandemic, when he was able to set up a field hospital in two weeks and even responded to the capital. Once again, this was the result of joint work in the region».

But, he lamented, «we continue to count little, because, if this field hospital had been in Lisbon or Porto, we would have even received gold medals. We didn't even receive a word of thanks from the guardianship. We are left with the good we did for those people, who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to live. And that's what moves us, that's what makes us better", he said.

«We are a region and we must act as such, because when we do that, we are very strong and we can do a lot of good. Why? Because we are used to doing a lot with very little».

Finally, Ana Varges Gomes argued that the Algarve must «stop being just a vacation spot for the rest of the country and show them that we are much more than that».

Meanwhile, to discuss the difficult health situation in the Algarve with mayors, minister Manuel Pizarro will be in Faro, at AMAL headquarters, next Tuesday.



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