Services in Algarve hospitals operating without constraints for now

The functioning of services has been ensured “with great sacrifice of doctors and nurses and the use of external hires”

The operation of services in hospitals in the Algarve does not present any constraints for now, sources in the health sector said today, at a time when more than 30 hospitals in the country are facing difficulties in completing doctor rosters.

Speaking to the Lusa agency, Ulisses Brito, from the sub-region of Faro of the Medical Association, said that, for now, “the situation in the Algarve is under control”, with so far not having “great repercussions or confusion as in other regions”.

According to the doctor, who is president of the assembly of the Order of Doctors of Faro, the functioning of services has been ensured “with great sacrifice of doctors and nurses and the use of external hires”.

Ulisses Brito states that there have been more problems in terms of emergency services at the Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve, which is part of the Faro, Portimão and Lagos.

More than 30 hospitals from the north to the south of the country are facing constraints and temporary closures of services due to the difficulty of administrations in filling doctors' rosters. At issue is the refusal of more than 2.500 doctors to work more than the 150 annual overtime hours to which they are obliged.

Margarida Agostinho, regional leader of the South Zone Doctors' Union, reveals that most doctors in the region “have already worked, since the beginning of the year, more than the agreed 150 overtime hours”.

As the doctor told Lusa, the emergency services “work without Pediatrics and with smaller teams”, and it is clear that the intervention capacity in Algarve hospitals is decreasing, with more and more patients being transferred.

“Right now, there are more and more patients being taken to Lisbon, also by helicopter. About two people should be taken there a day, on some days [by helicopter to Lisbon hospitals]”, he highlighted.

The president of the Algarve Intermunicipal Community (AMAL) told Lusa that mayors are following “the difficult times” we are experiencing in health, “with extreme positions on the part of some groups” of professionals, the result of a decision 20 years ago. years of reducing the production of doctors” for the country.

“We are monitoring the situation, but our concern at the moment is to see the tender for the new [central] hospital move forward, because the minister [of Health] came here [to the Algarve] 15 days ago and gave us some hope that, by the end of beginning of next year, we would have concrete news about the construction of the new hospital”, stated António Miguel Pina (PS).

The president of the Chamber of Faro regretted that the situation in the National Health Service (SNS) is “increasingly worrying and serious”, at a time when more people are needed, but those who can go to the private sector.

“There is no light at the end of the tunnel. The situation that was considered abnormal 10 years ago is now considered normal. We cannot accept it”, stressed Rogério Bacalhau (PSD).

The health crisis has already led the executive director of the SNS, Fernando Araújo, to admit that November could be dramatic if the Government and medical unions are unable to reach an understanding.

Negotiations between unions and the Government have been going on for 18 months, since 2022, with a new meeting scheduled for Saturday.

The lack of agreement has intensified the struggle of doctors, with strikes and declarations of excuse for overtime work beyond the mandatory 150 hours per year, which has caused embarrassment and the closure of emergency services in hospitals across the country.