Groundbreaking moves - and statements - for Algarve health

Groundbreaking moves – and statements – for Algarve health

First, the big news – particularly if you have had a kidney transplant: a new protocol signed last week means that transplant patients who live in the Algarve no longer need to travel the length of the country for follow-up treatment.
As a result of an agreement between Coimbra’s university hospital and the Algarve’s CHA (central hospital authority), patients who have undergone kidney transplants in Coimbra can now be supported in the Algarve, with follow-up consultations and the medication these require.
It’s a pilot scheme, say health chiefs, that means to be extended to other areas of the country and for other forms of transplants.
Said Algarve CHA boss Pedro Nunes this is the “first step of many” to ensure that the people of the Algarve are not forgotten.
Talking to Público newspaper, Nunes admitted that the Algarve was suffering from a chronic shortage of doctors and investment.
“We urgently need anesthetists, obstetricians, cardiologists… It makes no sense that Portimão Hospital has no neurologist or cardiologist. It makes no sense that patients have to travel from Portimão to Faro – or that doctors have to travel from Faro to Portimão. We need investment, so that the Algarve is equivalent to the rest of the country”.
He added that the 30 doctors a year coming out of the region’s university was “not enough to make up for deficiencies”.
“The world is global, and we aspire to having better doctors”, he told Público.
What incentives are there for doctors to leave “the large centres” and come to the Algarve”, the paper queried?
Nunes suggested “it would be intelligent of the minister of health” to create “positive discrimination” “to attract professionals to determined regions”.
Meantime, the former head of the Ordem dos Médicos (doctors association) has stressed the ongoing efforts to ensure that the Algarve is equipped with rapid response when it comes to medical emergencies.
“The Algarve has to have a casualty service equipped to stabilise and transport patients in total safety”, he told the Resident during a recent tour of Faro Hospital where a Kamov helicopter is permanently stationed to carry patients needing to be flown elsewhere for attention.