By INÊS LOPES firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing Portimão Barlavento hospital in a proposed merger of the two public hospitals in the Algarve would be senseless, said the president of the Administration Council at Faro Hospital.
Speaking to the Algarve Resident last week, Dr Pedro Nunes reacted to rumours that a fusion of the administrations at Portimão and Faro hospitals would eventually lead to the closure of the western Algarve unit, placing healthcare in the area at risk.
He admitted that a meeting had taken place at the headquarters of the regional health authority, ARS-Algarve, which was attended by the heads of administration at both hospitals.
Reluctant to reveal exact details of the discussion, Dr Nunes confirmed the proposed creation of a hospital group (“grupo hospitalar”), which would be responsible for both health facilities, but that it would be up to the Ministry of Health to take the proposal forward.
As the Algarve Resident reported last week, the ARS-Algarve is proposing a merger of the administrations of the two main hospitals in the region (also including the Lagos unit, which is part of Portimão hospital) into one single ruling entity in a bid to cut costs but still maintain a professional service.
This has raised concerns among the opposition and affected municipalities, who fear some health specialties would cease to exist at the Centro Hospitalar do Barlavento Algarvio (CHBA) in Portimão and transferred to Faro Hospital and that, in a worst case scenario, the health facility would eventually close down.
But one thing Dr Pedro Nunes made clear: “If anyone is going to benefit from this, it will be the population of the western Algarve, who will likely have access to improved healthcare.
“The CHBA will not close and, if the proposed merger of administrative functions goes ahead, this will mean improved service and additional health specialties at the hospital. In moves such as the proposed one, the smaller hospital (in this case Portimão) always benefits and, therefore, so will the population,” he said, but adding that the proposal had not yet been officially confirmed.
Dr. José Ramos, President of the Administrative Council at the CHBA, simply said that he had “no official knowledge of the referred fusion”, refraining from making any further comments.
Despite clear indication that the Portimão hospital unit would not be closing, the municipal assemblies of Lagoa and Portimão wished to make their opinions known by “unanimously” approving a motion by left-wing party Bloco de Esquerda, which “repudiates” the merger proposal as it “places people’s healthcare needs at risk”.
According to both municipal assemblies, the Ministry of Health and the ARS Algarve are obliged to inform the population about the plans concerning the future of CHBA and not keep them “under wraps”.
||Faro hospital opens €600,000 unit for patients
An investment of €600,000 has created a new waiting and treatment area in Faro Hospital for incoming patients in need of urgent attention.
The renovation comprises a 560m2 extension to the existing clinic of 1,180m2 and has 26 stretchers and 12 separate treatment rooms equipped to treat the most serious cases.
The hospital authorities claim that the scheme has produced a “more dignified” atmosphere and has eliminated stretcher cases overcrowding corridors and cut down to a maximum of 12 hours the waiting time for a diagnosis, and the decision to either treat or release the patient.
The project has enabled further improvements in the remaining emergency unit space, namely a special room for patients suffering from severe traumatisation.