Chaos confirmed in Lisbon’s trouble-torn maternity hospital

Maternidade Alfredo da Costa – Lisbon’s iconic maternity hospital saved only two years ago from the government’s austerity axe – is at breaking point.

According to media reports, the hospital’s casualty boss alerted INEM last night to the stark reality that it could no longer take in any new cases.

Nurses confirmed MAC was entering “a moment of chaos” with many of its staff “wishing” they could find employment elsewhere.

National tabloid Correio da Manhã blamed the hiatus on an acute shortage of medical staff which it says “doctors claim” the health authority is simply refusing to hire.

As a result, said the paper, whenever a health professional is ill or prevented from coming to work “for another reason”, services “enter into rupture”.

TVI24 revealed the chaos stemmed from the sudden death of a senior consultant.

Lisbon’s central hospital authority (CHLC) told Lusa: “Last night, due to the sudden of a specialist within MAC’s casualty team, a request was made to CODU, the orientation arm of INEM, to not send any casualty patients”

As nurses told the station: “We are not closing from the outside, but we are from the inside.”

Ana Cristina Rancha, the president of the hospital’s nursing syndicate, said things were set to get even worse as a new health authority placement scheme threatened to take “around 30 nurses” from the hospital by offering “other types of conditions” in and around Lisbon.

In the case of doctors, the situation is no less critical, said the station.

A source told Lusa that MAC has an “elevated number of doctors over 50 years of age” which means they are legally not expected to work night-shifts.

The same source explained that interns who train at MAC are prohibited from working there afterwards.

In other words, health chiefs may have been forced two years ago to leave MAC in operation, but little has been done to sustain it.

According to Lusa, president of the Lisbon and Vale do Tejo health authority Cunha Ribeiro was “not aware of any lack of doctors or nurses at MAC”.

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