Yesterday's shock was 'just a storm in a teacup', explains statement

Health service executive announces reopening of pediatric/ maternity services in Portimão Hospital

Sudden closure yesterday ‘had always been planned’, says statement

Yesterday’s shock announcement that maternity and pediatric services at Portimão were closing until further notice saw an urgent meeting between the CEO of the health service executive and the hospital hierarchy, ahead of a newly worded statement: “The closure was already planned, until Sunday”.

There was no explanation as to why the original announcement had not explained this, and calls from international media like the BBC to discover whether the closure had anything to do with the death of a British baby two weeks before were adamantly denied.

The outrage too expressed by PSD Algarve was thus deftly ‘nipped in the bud’.

In a statement released following the ‘urgent meeting’, the health service executive said: “Due to the limited human resources of paediatric doctors, as a result of absences due to parenthood and unforeseen illness, the availability of the institution’s professionals and the opening of resources from other hospitals in the SNS (State health service) network are being reassessed in order to maintain a structured and consistent response during the summer seasonal period.” 

Considering that suspension of activity in labour words and pediatric A&E this weekend (June 2-4) was already planned, “there exists no alteration to the process”, the statement went on.

By Sunday “the contingency plan for the summer months will be revised and disclosed by the Executive Directorate-SNS, according to the need for the highest criteria of safety and quality to be preserved, avoiding any risk situation for pregnant women or children, as well as for the activity of professionals”.

INEM, the National Institute of Medical Emergency, “will remain on standby, reinforcing  response, according to the contingency plan established, the text continues. “Primary Health Care will provide support in response to children with acute illness, mitigating the use of the emergency service.”

In conclusion, the health service executive lead by Fernando Araújo, stated that it “recognises the great effort” of professionals and announces that it will outline decisions “based on minimising the impact of the disturbance of activity on users and families, but ensuring the need to preserve the guarantee of response in health, with quality and safety“.

What yesterday’s panic is shown to have been is an over-reaction to what was an inadequately-worded statement by Portimão Hospital authorities (in that they neglected to give any kind of reopening date).

Says Observador, efforts to understand what ‘went wrong’ in the line of communication have “up till this time not obtained a response”.

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