Ana Gomes, president of CHUA’s administration board
Ana Gomes, president of CHUA’s administration board Photo: BARLAVENTO

Algarve hospitals ‘teeming with non-Covid-19 patients’ welcome 182 medical interns

The Algarve University Hospital Centre (CHUA) has announced that 182 medical interns will start their training at the region’s public hospitals and health centres this month.

The news comes at a time when CHUA administrator Paulo Neves has admitted that the region’s hospitals are teeming with non-Covid patients.

Most of the interns (134) will be completing their “general training” in the region, while 48 are trainee specialists who will be completing their internships in the following units: anaesthesiology (2), cardiology (1), general surgery (3), infectious diseases (1), gastroenterology (2), gynaecology/obstetrics (3), physical medicine and rehabilitation (5), intensive medicine (3), internal medicine (10), nephrology (1), neurology (1), medical oncology (2), clinical pathology (2), paediatrics (3), pulmonology (1), psychiatrics (6) and radiology (2).

The interns completing their “general training” will do so in different units and services at Portimão and Faro Hospitals as well as health centres throughout the Algarve, CHUA said in a statement to the press.

“Challenge those who are with you, challenge the system, be the change you want to see in the SNS (national health service). Do the bet you can do, be restless souls,” Ana Gomes, the president of CHUA’s administration board, said while addressing the interns during a welcoming ceremony.

CHUA clinical director Horácio Guerreiro also spoke to the new interns, stressing how they have the opportunity to “work at a growing hospital centre” where they can “make a difference” and benefit from working together with trained health professionals as well as CHUA’s “important link to the university and research world.”

While this was not mentioned in the statements sent out to the press, hospital bosses will also certainly hope that the new interns will help local hospitals deal with the large numbers of non-Covid-19 patients in need of hospital care.

In order to deal with the influx of patients, the hospital board has resorted to hiring the services of private hospitals to find a hospital bed for everyone in need.

“We have 60 non-Covid patients hospitalised outside of the hospital,” Neves told Público newspaper.

The silver lining is that Covid patients account for just 85 of the more than 1,100 patients in the care of the region’s public hospitals.

The reason seems to be that the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus – said to be more easily spreadable – is much less prevalent in the Algarve, accounting for just around 1% of cases, according to the latest data revealed by the National Health Institute Doutor Ricardo Jorge.

A strain of the Delta variant likely brought over from the UK accounts for nearly 90% of Covid-19 cases in the Algarve, the institute adds.

While the number of cases is expected to increase in the coming weeks, Neves does not believe this will have an impact on hospitalisations or deaths.

“In January 2021, the average number of deaths per day (due to Covid-19) was six; currently we have two, one or zero,” he stressed.