Luís Montenegro is not the first political figure to demand answers over Portugal's 'sky high' death rate. Image: Lusa
Luís Montenegro is not the first political figure to demand answers over Portugal's 'sky high' death rate. Image: Lusa

Country needs to know why so many people are dying – PSD leader

Luís Montenegro says “failure in Portugal’s healthcare cannot be trivialised”

Following on from the shocking reality that Portugal has become the European country with the highest level of excess deaths this winter, president of the PSD party has said “the country has to understand why so many people are dying in Portugal”

What appears to be a “failure in healthcare” cannot be trivialised, said Luís Montenegro following a meeting with the new president of the Order of Nurses. “Portugal is going through perhaps the worst period in living memory” in the health sector.

“I have already warned and I want to reaffirm, without demagoguery, without irresponsibility, that the country needs to understand why so many people are dying in Portugal. What is causing a mortality rate that is only paralleled by the most serious period of the pandemic?”

The PSD leader said he believes the government should explain whether this increase in mortality “has to do with the system’s (in)ability to provide answers and with the weakness of the SNS (State health system), in spite of the increase in (its) financial resources.

“We need to know. We cannot just accept this as if it was inevitable. We cannot trivialise so many deaths in Portugal; something is happening in terms of healthcare failure to give rise to this sad reality,” he considered (see update below).

Montenegro used the occasion to reinforce his commitment to “present an emergency programme to put an end to what is happening in (hospital) emergency departments and with waiting times for consultations and surgeries” if the PSD’s Democratic Alliance wins the legislative elections on March 10.

UPDATE: Up till this weekend, authorities have been relatively coy about the age-groups in which excess deaths have been most noted. Indeed, they have given ‘excess deaths’ as the reason for rolling out flu and Covid vaccines in younger age groups. Now, however, Correio da Manhã has published the numbers, showing that the greatest number of deaths has been in the over-80 age group – the group that is arguably the most vaccinated (against seasonal flu/ Covid-19) than any other in the country. In the first 16 days of January, for example, 3,705 people over the age of 85 died in Portugal – a 24% increase on the average for the same period between 2015 to 2019, says the paper.

LUSA