Health boost for region

Two historic events concerning the Algarve’s health service took place recently. The first was the opening of the Hospital da Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Portimão. The new health facility currently has 45 beds, but will shortly be able to admit 90 patients. “This structure is significant for the National Health Service in the Algarve,” explained the Secretary of State for Health, Carlos Martins, “and will help to ease the strain on the Barlavento Hospital and other medical establishments in the region.”

The new hospital, which is located in the old district hospital building, cost around two million euros, with a further 1.5 million euros planned to be spent shortly. The facility offers a series of diagnostic procedures and operations and will be open to both private patients and those referred by doctors from the National Health Service. “Our prices will be competitive and we will offer discounts to poorer people,” explained José Francisco Serralha, the director of the hospital. “We offer several specialities which are lacking in the region, including, for example, neurology, and we have the most modern diagnostic equipment and highly professional staff.” Carlos Martins described the new facility as being “part of the local and regional strategic health package”.

The second major development for the Algarve’s health service was revealed recently at a meeting held in Portimão Auditorium when Luís Felipe Pereira, Minister of Health, announced the opening of the international public tender for the new and modern Portimão Health Centre. The new project will reportedly cost 4.5 million euros and the finished building will be the biggest health centre in the Algarve and one of the largest in the country. According to Carlos Martins: “This project demonstrates how important both Portimão and the Algarve are to the government.”

Meanwhile, the Hospital Privado de São Gonçalo de Lagos was officially opened on December 12. Both Luís Felipe Pereira and Carlos Martins attended the ceremony, along with the president of Lagos Câmara, Júlio Barroso, the president of the Caixa Geral de Depósitos, António Sousa, and the president of HPP Sul, Luís Vasconcelos. According to António Sousa, seven million euros was invested in the project, which took nine months to build from scratch. The new hospital contains 40 beds, 10 consulting rooms for 21 specialists and two operating theatres.

As he celebrated, Luís Felipe Pereira explained that he does not believe that the National Health Service should be exclusively public. At the opening of the new hospital, he spoke of the new government proposals for health, saying that they were already producing positive results. He explained that the main objectives of these proposals were to look after the Portuguese citizens and to “save” the National Health Service by providing increasingly better quality health care. “Social and private enterprises can and should be part of this endeavour,” he said.