By: Caroline Cunha
DUE TO the current flu epidemic affecting the Algarve region, the health authority has been forced to take emergency measures in order to guarantee access to treatment for sufferers.
In a statement released on February 8, the Administração Regional de Saúde do Algarve (ARS), the Algarve health authority, announced that Faro and Olhão centros de saúde, health centres, will open until midnight while the epidemic continues.
Despite the high numbers of sufferers already arriving at health centres and hospitals across the region, the health authority expects the situation to worsen and reach its peak this weekend (February 17 and 18).
The Resident is aware that many patients arriving at Faro SAP last week turned back after seeing the long queues or, gave up and went home after sitting in the waiting room for over two hours to be seen by a doctor. The extension to the opening hours was clearly the only way to cope with the demand for treatment. Hundreds of people are currently seeking treatment for flu. The Algarve health authority has also provided the following guidelines in order to stem the spread of the virus and to prevent health facilities and hospitals becoming overloaded.
• Use health services in moderation, flu can be avoided by reducing the amount of contact with those infected.
• Seek advice from the general public health line on 808 211 311 or the children’s health line on 808 242 440.
• If a doctor’s assistance is required, people are advised to seek an appointment with their family doctor or, if this is not possible, to try to be seen during the out of hours schedule at health centres and not to arrive at hospital emergency departments.
• All other health centres, apart from Faro and Olhão will maintain their regular opening hours: Serviço de Urgência Básico de Lagos (serving boroughs of Aljezur, Vila do Bispo and Lagos) open 24 hours; Portimão open 8am to midnight; Monchique open 8am to 8pm; Lagoa open 8am to 8pm; Silves open 8am to 10pm; Serviço de Urgência Básico de Albufeira (serving Silves and Albufeira) open 24 hours; Serviço de Urgência Básico de Loulé (serving São Brás de Alportel and Loulé) open 24 hours; São Brás de Alportel open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 3pm on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays; Tavira open 9am to 9pm; Serviço de Urgência Básico de Vila Real Santo António (VRSA) (serving Castro Marim, VRSA, Alcoutim) open 24 hours; Alcoutim open 9am to 9pm.
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