Castro Marim cuts through red tape to help wheelchair-bound man walk again

A wheelchair-bound man who faced a four-year “bureaucratic nightmare” for a pair of orthopaedic shoes is finally up on his feet again thanks to Castro Marim council.

The €500 shoes were purchased by the municipality and handed over this week to 42-year-old José Laureano, who was “developing pressure sores” after several months in a wheelchair.

Speaking to Sulinformação, Mayor Francisco Amaral said it should have been Portugal’s Health Ministry and the Algarve’s hospitals paying for the shoes.

“It was four years of bureaucracy, with papers being sent back and forth from Algarve and Lisbon … What I tried to do was get Faro Hospital to resolve the situation, but a few weeks later I got fed up because I saw the man kept getting worse,” Amaral said.

As the mayor pointed out, Laureano has a “congenital problem in his feet and legs” and cannot walk without orthopaedic boots.

“The problem was he couldn’t pay for them. His family is very poor.”

The €500 investment will hardly make a dent in Castro Marim’s budget for 2016, thus Mayor Amaral’s solution.

Using the situation as an example, he has spoken about bureaucracy that “prevents this country (from moving forward)”.

Describing Portugal as ‘o país da papelada’ (the country of paperwork), Amaral said in a statement that bureaucracy is something the country has “inherited from the monarchy”.

“It unfortunately remains in public administration to this day, affecting the confidence of relations between the government and its citizens.”

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