Funeral agencies claim Portimão morgue’s ‘Saturday shutdown’ will cause heartbreak and distress

Algarve hospital boss Joaquim Ramalho is back in the hotseat today following a decision to shutdown Portimão’s morgue on Saturdays.

Funeral agencies claim the move – prompted by a lack of available staff – will cause “more suffering for bereaved families”, writes Correio da Manhã, as burials will have to be put off by “at least a day”.

Explaining the problem, agencies says the issue will affect any deaths in the Barlavento (western Algarve) boroughs of Portimão, Silves, Lagos, Monchique and Aljezur that take place on Fridays.

Under the current system, the bodies of people who die on Fridays can be admitted to the morgue on Saturdays, to be ready for funerals the following Monday.

From January 1 the situation will see bodies being kept in cold storage over the weekend and only admitted to the morgue on Monday, thus delaying any funeral until the day after, if not even later.

Not quoting any funeral agency by name, CM stresses the situation will “delay funerals and cause more suffering”, though a source for Ramalho’s CHA (Algarve hospital authority) has said the Saturday shutdown is only meant to be “transitory”.

Meantime, the CHA has commented on the “block resignation” of clinical directors shortly before Christmas (click here), saying that resolution of the problems “is a strategic priority” and will entail “reorganising, differentiating services and reinforcing human resources” as well as “investing strongly in equipment and installations” from the beginning of 2017.

[email protected]