Algarve’s health sector “still struggling” despite government pledge to sort problems by end May

The Algarve’s public health sector is still “struggling” from a “chronic shortage of human resources” despite the government pledge that what it termed “unacceptable difficulties” would be solved by the end of May.

A group of regional doctors and mayors have said that while the State has “good intentions”, the “short-term and temporary measures” implemented so far have barely scratched the surface of what the region so desperately needs.

“I’m still very worried, impatient and waiting for more concrete measures,” Olhão mayor António Pina (PS) has told Lusa news agency.

Faro’s Rogério Bacalhau (PSD) was even more critical, saying that “nothing has been solved in these past months”.

“Problems are only getting worse and waiting lists are growing larger,” he said.

“These problems can only be solved if the government makes the health sector’s issues a priority and tries to attract more doctors to the Algarve,” Bacalhau stressed.

Talking for the Algarve doctors union, João Silva Dias agreed with both men, though he said local health service problems “cannot be solved from one day to another”.

The criticism has come at the exact time that health minister Adalberto Fernandes vowed would be a moment when the troubles of the past would have been rectified (click here).

Meantime, the Algarve’s health authority ARS (Administração Regional de Saúde) has said some headway has already been made to tackle the crippling lack of doctors and specialists in the region.

Thirty GP vacancies have been opened, while doctors are being (re)hired from retirement.

Orthopedic specialists from Lisbon and Setúbal have also agreed to working at Algarve hospitals twice a week, while a team of oncologists from Lisbon has signed a protocol for collaboration with the state hospital in Portimão.

[email protected]