By NATASHA SMITH
A NEW central hospital could be open in the Algarve within five years, it was announced last week.
Rui Lourenço, president of Administração Regional de Saúde (ARS Algarve), the regional health authority, said the construction process will begin in April 2007 and it could be open by 2011.
ARS Algarve said that as soon as the functional model of the hospital has been mapped out, bids for the construction of the hospital at Parque das Cidades, next to Algarve Stadium in Faro can be accepted.
The plan is for the central hospital to contain all the region’s medical specialties and services. This would mean that the Algarve would become self-sufficient in terms of health services and patients would no longer face being transferred to other regions. The new hospital would also eventually replace the Faro hospital.
When Rui Lourenço spoke to The Resident, he estimated that the hospital would be open in 2012, but more recently the ARS Algarve has suggested that it could open a year earlier in light of the progress that has been made in the last six months.
The Ministry of Health established a group to define the functional model of the hospital and their research will be completed in April 2007.
The hospital itself will be constructed by a public and private coalition. The infrastructure before and after the hospital opens will also be overseen by the same partnership, but unlike other hospitals, the management of the hospital, once it has opened, will be exclusively public.
Lourenço predicts that this could bring the opening date of the hospital forward as it could accelerate the final installation process.