NURSES AT Faro Hospital were due to stage a protest on September 6 in order to pressurise the government into offering them increased stability with regards to their employment. Currently, it has been reported that around 150 nurses at the hospital are being offered successive three-month work contracts The nurses are requesting that permanent contracts be created. In some cases, this temporary employment contract situation has been ongoing for four years. According to the head of the Faro branch for the Portuguese nurses’ union, Celso Silva, close to half of the health professionals in this area, contracted by Faro Hospital, have been working there for more than three years.
The union organised the protest, following a recent dinner, which brought the nurses concerned together. The dinner served as an opportunity for them to discuss the issue of their successive three month contracts and to decide upon future action. It was at the dinner, which was attended by around 50 nurses, that the date for the protest was decided. The group planned to congregate at the doors to the hospital in order to demonstrate to the outside world that the problem exists.
For the union, the working situation being experienced by these nurses is unacceptable and warns that everything has a limit.The nurses are not prepared to wait any longer — the protest was the first sign that the patience of the nurses is running out.
According to Celso Silva, the Minister for Health subscribed on behalf of Portugal to various European Union health conventions and gave interviews to the press in which he stated that there is a lack of health professionals and that they need to be employed in a more stable way, but, in practice, this has not materialised.
The Resident’s Caroline Cunha contacted the administration of Faro Hospital to find out what it had to say about the protest: “Faro Hospital declares that it has always shown concern for the problems of its nurses and, in line with this attitude, met in May of this year with the nurses’ union, to discuss their discontentment and demonstrated its availability to try to solve the situation together. Currently, the situation is being analysed and the administration has sent various letters requesting the opinions of other entities which are involved in employment matters. The administration is currently waiting for a response to these requests and will communicate with the union as soon as any information is available.”
The Resident also attempted to contact Rui Lourenço, president of the regional health authority who, unfortunately at the time of going to press, was unavailable for comment.