Portimão Hospital

Construction of new nuclear medicine unit begins at Portimão Hospital

Unit will feature “high-end” equipment

Construction of a new nuclear medicine unit which will feature “high-end” equipment and will no longer force countless patients to seek care outside of the Algarve has started at Portimão Hospital.

The project represents a €1.5 million investment covered by the Algarve Regional Development and Coordination Commission (CCDR Algarve) and the Algarve University Hospital Centre (CHUA).

The unit will be led by director Elísio Sousa who will work with a team of five health professionals. If all goes according to plan, the unit will be ready to open by September 12.

Ana Varges Gomes, president of CHUA’s administration board, vowed at a ceremony to unveil the project on Wednesday, May 17  that the nuclear medicine unit will be “the first of this category on a national level” and added that a significant portion of the Algarve population will benefit from this new service.

She also expressed confidence that the unit’s team will be able to accommodate all patients in need.

According to Gomes, CHUA is progressing towards having a service that will “make a difference” in the region.

She also believes that the new unit will help the hospital attract more professionals by offering increasingly advanced capabilities and quality equipment which will allow them to carry out early and detailed diagnoses.

The high-tech equipment that was previously only available in Lisbon, forcing patients from Algarve and Alentejo to travel hundreds of kilometres, is considered “necessary and indispensable” according to Horácio Guerreiro, CHUA’s clinical director said.

He said that the new nuclear medicine unit is all the more important considering that the Algarve’s private HPA hospitals have stopped providing this service, leaving patients in the region with no other alternative.

While hospitals in the Algarve have an “ambitious investment programme”, Horácio Guerreiro highlighted existing “deficiencies” that continue to affect the quality of healthcare provided.

The clinical director guaranteed that he has already alerted the National Health Service (SNS) to the “shortage of anaesthesiologists” at CHUA.

Meanwhile, the future director of the nuclear medicine unit explained that this medical specialty encompasses diagnostic, laboratory, and therapeutic aspects, helping to respond to “various pathologies with hybrid equipment that combines classic and modern technologies”.

Elísio Sousa added that this approach provides highly informative images, which allow doctors to save lives and improve patients’ quality of life.

“CHUA will take another step forward,” Sousa said, adding that there will not only be earlier diagnoses and more effective therapies, but also patients will no longer face the hassles of having to travel long distances to receive care.

Also attending the ceremony was José Apolinário, president of CCDR Algarve, who recognised that the Algarve has not benefitted from significant investment in healthcare in recent years.

He stated that this project is important as it “represents better conditions in terms of innovation within the healthcare structure”.

This investment is seen as “essential and critical” to enhance the region’s competitiveness in terms of healthcare, said José Apolinário.

The new unit will provide diagnoses and treatment in various areas, including cardiology, pulmonology, rheumatology, endocrinology, nephrology, neurology, oncology, as well as preoperative and perioperative examinations.

Original article written by Beatriz Maio for Barlavento newspaper