Early doors for medical centre

PORTIMÃO MEDICAL centre’s decision to close two hours earlier each day at 10pm has been met with fierce criticism from the social democrats (PSD) in the town.

Rui Lourenço, president of the Administração Regional de Saúde do Algarve (ARS), the regional health authority, announced the reduction in opening hours of the Portimão Serviço de Atendimento Permanente (SAP), last week, but it has not been revealed when this revised closing time will be put into effect.

PSD Portimão criticised the move as soon as Lourenço announced it, saying that Barlavento hospital in Portimão was already experiencing great difficulties in coping with the number of patients.

PSD referred to the long waiting times, the amount of people lying on gurneys in the corridors in “inhumane conditions” because there are not enough beds and the stretched resources of the medical staff at the hospital.

When the SAP closes early, the PSD said that hospital would be inundated with even more patients and waiting times could potentially be even longer.


The PSD said it would sign a petition and ask residents to sign it in protest of the revised opening hours of the SAP. The party also demand that work begin quickly to restructure and improve the emergency service at Barlavento hospital and on the construction of the new medical centre.

Of the 14 SAPs in the Algarve, only Albufeira, Loulé and Vila Real de Santo António will remain open for emergency treatment 24 hours a day. This announcement comes in the wake of changes in the opening hours of several other SAPs across the Algarve last year.

Silves medical centre was originally open 24 hours a day, but in November, without warning, the opening hours changed to 8am – 10pm. This was met with a great deal of criticism from patients and the president of the Silves Câmara, Isabel Soares. (See November 17, edition of The Resident). Faro, Lagos, Lagoa and Alcoutim SAPs are now open from 8am – 8pm, while Tavira SAP closes at 10pm and Olhão opens at 9am for a 12-hour period.

The ARS justifies the early closures as being cost effective. Rui Lourenço said that by closing some early, more funds and support is given to the SAPs that are open 24 hours a day.

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