Putting health concerns in the Algarve into stark perspective, scenarios elsewhere in the country have been making headlines. In Famalicão, for example, a woman is reported to have spent six days in an A&E corridor waiting for a bed. In Sintra – where patients arriving at health centres outnumber doctors available by 30,000 to 12 – a vigil has been held protesting about the lack of conditions and organisational chaos.
In fact, organisational chaos is the buzzword for the nation’s State healthcare system this year, with complaints coming from all over the country.
Torres Vedras has seen its children’s A&E department shutdown from 9pm to 9am – due to lack of medical staff – while surgeries in Penafiel hospital have had to be cancelled due to the pressure on accident and emergency departments, exacerbated this year by a particularly virulent flu virus.
Giving health minister Adalberto Fernandes one of its famous ‘thumbs down’ today, national tabloid Correio da Manhã says pointedly that “something must be wrong” when so much bad news in a sector can be reported in just one day.