“Tragic November” has begun as doctors continue strike over overtime
Popular tabloid Correio da Manhã runs with the cover headline today: “43 hospitals on brink of collapse”.
Listing the hospitals (which include both major hospitals of the Algarve), the paper cites a list published by ‘Médicos em Luta’ – a movement representing doctors still refusing to work more than the statutory number of overtime hours, which is 150 per year.
The result is that 43 hospitals (see list below) are having “a lot of difficulty” in filling rosters.
Negotiations between doctors’ syndicates and the government are nonetheless starting to make some headway, with the next round – which had been due tomorrow – postponed until Saturday.
In the meantime, predictions of potential catastrophes and tragedy hang ominously in the air.
According to ‘Médicos em Luta’ (meaning doctors in struggle) there are 101 hospitals affected by the strike on overtime (not least because nurses’ syndicates also are starting their own bans on overtime). But some more affected than others.
“The problem is most apparent in the north and south”, says CM. “Braga has had to close 12 intensive care beds due to the lack of doctors. In Viseu, orthopedic and surgical emergency services are closed every night throughout the month. The Barreiro-Montijo hospital centre has to close its pediatric emergency services between Thursday and Monday all month – and in Évora, pediatric emergency services are working with a reduced medical team at night for the next couple of days.
In Porto, hospital de São João is having to receive patients from six other hospitals, while in that area too obstetric, pediatric, internal medicine and cardiology services are “most affected”.
Said Carla Meira of Médicos em Luta: “The details we have highlighted are the health units with greatest constraints – namely due to reduced teams, the closure of services, some for a period of days, others for the whole month.
Another example is Hospital de Viana do Castelo, which has closed its general surgery and internal medicine services throughout the weekends of November.
All in all, Carla Meira stressed it is “lamentable” that syndicates and the government haven’t yet reached a deal.
Hopes now are that a break in the deadlock will come at the weekend.
CM highlights a point made by syndicate leaders, that Portugal’s doctors are “the worst paid in Europe”, and simply refuse to go on being exploited by a system that gives them such little value.
Hospitals at risk:
Viana do Castelo:
Ponte de Lima
Viana do Castelo
Vila Nova de Gaia
Póvoa de Varzim
Santa Marta de Feira
Figueira da Foz
Caldas da Rainha
São Francisco Xavier
Vila Franca de Xira