Algarve hospital board denies shortage of medical equipment at Covid-19 wards

The Algarve University Hospital Board (CHUA) has denied that the region’s state-run hospitals are “in desperate need of medical equipment” for their Covid-19 wards after a doctor took to social media to request donations.

The doctor made the appeal on Facebook, saying: “Our number of patients has trebled, but our equipment has not,” and listed what was required – “stethoscopes, oximeters, digital thermometers, hygiene products, pillows and bottled water.”

The social media publication, however, was made “without the knowledge” of the hospital board, which has clarified that it would “never resort to social media” to request medical equipment.

Speaking to Lusa news agency this week, CHUA boss Ana Castro declared that any online appeal for medical equipment in the name of CHUA is a “fraud”.

She also assured that hospitals do not lack a “single stethoscope” and that any medical equipment needed is purchased. “Each doctor has their own stethoscope,” she said.

“However, we cannot expect something in short supply today to appear tomorrow. That is not how it works; these are state-run institutions and there are procedures in place that must be followed,” Castro told Lusa.

“But there isn’t a shortage of any equipment; patients continue to receive treatment,” she said.

Castro also confirmed the doctor’s publication has since been “deleted” and that such appeals in the name of the hospital are not authorised.

The hospital boss also assured that any issues that arise are handled immediately and that supermarket chains such as Auchan and Pingo Doce have offered to help with items such as pillows, pyjamas and even meals.