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Health Minister clarifies transplant statements

The Portuguese Government has cut by half the budget for transplants, citing economic reasons.

Health Minister Paulo Macedo, in an interview with the Portuguese television channel TVI, said: “We need to realise that the country cannot sustain the current number of transplants.”

This statement led to the resignation of the President and the Coordinator of the blood Services and Transplants authority (ASST), João Rodrigues Pena and Maria João Aguiar. 

The matter was also discussed in the Portuguese Parliament by a member of the left wing party (Bloco de Esquerda), João Semedo, and the Health Minister, who said he wanted to clarify that he had not stated that he wanted to cut back on the number of transplants.

“The transplant activity will not be called into question, regardless of the type of transplants. “Two of the largest transplant centres have already told me that their services will continue to operate in the same manner. The reduction in the budget will not put the transplants at risk.”

He also pointed out that in 2010 there was a fall in the number of transplants and the budget was not cut at that time, which he suggests means the cut imposed last month has nothing to with the fall in transplants.