Despite all the health minister’s promises of renewed investment in Portugal’s state hospitals, the truth six months down the line of this new Socialist government is that “around two thirds of national territory runs the risk of not having basic health services”.
There are districts, writes national tabloid Correio da Manhã today, where patients have to travel tens of kilometres to do basic tests or an electrocardiogram “because the conventional (private) services that had contracts with the government have closed”.
Of the 278 boroughs of the country, 168 do not have laboratories that process tests and 193 are without cardiology consultations.
These are the conclusions of a study by the FNS, national services federation, which has told the paper that cuts by successive governments have actually put the whole system in danger.
In the past, 90% of outpatient tests were performed by private entities paid by the State, FNS president Bruno Henriques explains.
With the State now attempting to reduce costs and “internalise” certain services, the private companies been hammered “putting jobs at risk”, while hospitals themselves will end up full to the brim, with patients making long journeys, he warned.