Patients will be able to ‘refuse’ transfer
17 hospitals across the country with A&E departments (urgências) have set in in motion the redirection of non-urgent patients, triaged with blue or green bracelets, to ‘primary care’ (health centres).
The ‘Via Verde ACES’ is already active, and aims to reduce overload at struggling hospitals, “reserving differentiated care for only acute and severe cases”.
The 17 hospital units are coordinated with a total of 27 health centres in their geographical proximities, “guaranteeing that non-severe patients will be seen by a family doctor within 24 hours”.
Transfers can, however, only be carried out with consent of the people involved – meaning those triaged with either blue or green wristbands after arrival at A&E units.
According to the office of Health Minister Manuel Pizarro, ‘Via Verde ACES’ is a “measure considered central by the various institutions”.
The idea is not new, explain reports. It has been used before, but not “as desired”, seeing less than 1% of patients accept a transfer to a family doctor.
For now, the hospitals signed up to the scheme are Garcia de Orta (Almada), Santarém, Santa Maria (Lisbon), São José (Lisbon), Oeste, Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Guimarães, Médio Ave, Braga, Barcelos, Tâmega e Sousa, Santo António (Porto), Póvoa do Varzim-Vila do Conde, Alto Minho, Matosinhos, Nordeste and Entre o Douro e Vouga.