Father Christmas arrives in style at Forum Algarve

news: Father Christmas arrives in style at Forum Algarve

Faro Hospital desperately needs funds

Faro District Hospital is in desperate need of a new paediatric emergency department. The current conditions at the existing paediatric section are cramped and unsatisfactory and, such is the shortage of space that children over 12 years old currently have to be seen at the adult emergency unit, which staff say is unacceptable.

Paediatrician Elsa Rocha told The Resident: “The unit moved to its current premises as a temporary measure and the department was supposed to remain there for just 15 days. But, 14 years later, it is still there! The space we have is very limited and the working conditions are not good. We would like to be able to do more. Faro Hospital has no money and the National Health Plan, approved by the current government, encourages the general public to play a role in health projects.”

Enjoy skating and help a good cause

Forum Algarve’s management, headed up by Luís Pereira, has once again set up an ice rink that can be used by visitors to the shopping centre – it costs two euros for 20 minutes. Money is also being received from companies taking advertising around the perimeter of the rink and through sponsorship of the appeal. Donation boxes are also placed around the centre.

Hearing about the plight of the hospital, Forum Algarve decided to make it the designated charity for this year’s funds. In view of the medical theme, the creative types behind the scenes at the shopping centre thought up the idea of creating a mini hospital/play area at the centre, in front of Santa’s grotto. And, at the launch of the fundraising project, paediatricians from Faro Hospital were on hand to deal with any ‘injuries’ or ‘health problems’ being suffered by the children’s dolls and cuddly animals, offering ‘patient consultations’. This mini walk-in surgery will continue to function over the coming weeks and it is hoped that parents will make donations to the appeal.

Faro Câmara lends support

The launch of the appeal was attended by the newly elected President of Faro Câmara, José Apolinário, and the Director General for Health, Dr. Francisco George, together with some of the medical staff from the existing paediatric unit, not forgetting Father Christmas.

Appeal objectives

The objectives of the appeal are as follows: to provide the paediatric unit with four times more space, increasing it from 176sqm to 700sqm, to offer more privacy and comfort, operate the Triage System to speed up the time and efficiency in attending to patients, and also to increase the size of in-patient facilities.

Luís Pereira of Forum Algarve told The Resident: “Work will begin in January and should take 18 months to complete. The paediatric emergency department will take over the area that was previously being used by the gastroenterology department, which has been given a new area.” He continued: “We hope that we can raise lots of money over the next two months to contribute to the amount needed to carry out these improvements. The total cost will be 300,000 euros and we are hoping to raise around 50 per cent of this amount.”

The appeal got off to a very good start on Saturday, with insurance company Seguro Directo handing over a cheque for 40,000 euros, in return for the placing of advertising panels around the ice rink. Luís Pereira concluded his comments by saying “more corporate sponsors are very welcome”.

Previous recipients of fundraising initiatives at Forum Algarve have included the Associação Oncológica do Algarve and communities affected by the forest fires.

Pictures by Caroline Cunha