Psychiatric emergency unit reopens in Portimão six years after closure
Six years after it was closed to save money, the emergency psychiatric service in Portimão State Hospital has been resurrected.
Doors opened last Tuesday, with hospital sources stressing the service has been reinforced, to offer patients better all-round quality of care.
In conjunction with the University Hospital of the Algarve (in Faro), services in psychiatry and mental health have seen doctor numbers double in the past few years, “at the same time increasing the number of young doctors in training for the speciality”.
Hopes are that the reopened service will “improve accessibility, quality and the speed with which mentally ill people are attended in the Barlavento Algarve region”, and also reduce the pressure on facilities in Faro and beyond.
Making the announcement, regional health authority ARS Algarve recalled the ‘dark days’ of consolidation when numerous services at Portimão state hospital were ‘merged’ with those in Faro, leaving the former much the poorer.
Promoted by the centre-right government of the time, the moves elicited a ‘wave of protest’ from local mayors – particularly Portimão mayoress Isilda Gomes, who lodged an injunction, and won.
Gomes’ victory however was later overturned on appeal.
ARS Algarve added in its statement that community mental health consultations are now available at various health centres in the Barlavento region “allowing adults to book appointments in psychiatry and psychology closer to their homes”. This development has reduced the number of journeys for all concerned – both patients and the authorities.