Algarve state hospital suspends surgeries till next Tuesday
The Algarve’s main teaching hospital in Faro has announced that surgeries scheduled between now and next Tuesday have had to be suspended.
For scores of people who may have been waiting years – certainly months – for these slots, this will be a major blow.
Visiting the Algarve on a pre-EU election campaign stop, centre-right candidate Nuno Melo has said it’s time for health minister Marta Temido to step down.
“The problems in our health system will not resolve themselves with ideology or Marxist songs. They will be resolved by resources. Resources that fail every day. We need less songs, less music, more money, more doctors and more hospital staff”, he said.
To be fair, the problems within the SNS were achingly apparent long before left-wingers took over from the last centre-right government.
Waiting lists, crowded A&E departments – they have become standards within the State health system.
The official statement given by the central hospital board is that the surgeries will be reprogrammed so that patients are not compromised.
Elaborating on the situation to TSF radio, a source stressed that the delay does not cover “patients already in hospital with surgeries scheduled”, nor does it include patients requiring ‘urgent surgeries’.
Texts in the media rarely explain that the bulk of patients put on SNS waiting lists in the Algarve end up being operated within the private sector.
Patients are regularly informed at consultations that once they have waited six months from being placed on the surgical waiting list, they can opt to go private – with the State footing the bill.
What is variable is the time it takes to get a surgical consultation.
In the case of some specialities, people can wait years.
The reason given for Faro’s surgical moratorium this week has been the “elevated occupancy of medical installations” (meaning the hospital has too many patients within the hospital to deal with any more).
Portimão Hospital was almost on the point of announcing the same moratorium but the situation has changed and thus the contingency measure is no long necessary.
GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES PLAN TO HIRE 1,264 NEW DOCTORS – 853 TO GO INTO HOSPITALS
Within hours of the news about suspended surgeries, the government PR machine had actioned ‘damage control’.
First, health minister Marta Temido stressed the situation was ‘transitory’ and “does not generate alarm”, and almost simultaneously came the news that the executive has opened tenders for 1,264 new ‘recently specialised’ doctors to work in areas of general and family medicine and hospitals.
Said the ministry of health, it was the “greatest contingent of vacancies of all time”, with 853 of the posts destined for public hospitals.
Among this 853, the State hopes to take on 159 new doctors for internal medicine, 59 anaethestists, 51 pediatricians, 56 psychiatrists, 36 cardiologists, 63 ‘general surgeons’ and 37 orthopedic specialists.
Hospitals in the Lisbon/ Vale do Tejo health district will get the bulk of these specialists (209), followed by those in the north (61), centre (54), Alentejo (42) and finally the Algarve (32).