Lagoa council has expressed serious concern over the “shortage of doctors and nurses” at the borough’s health centres.
It is a situation that has “worsened” over time and is now “unacceptable”, says the council in a statement.
It explains that Ferragudo and Parchal are without a family doctor and Porches will follow in March, while Lagoa has recently lost a family doctor as well.
The council blames regional health authority ARS Algarve and the Western Algarve’s health centre group (ACES) for relocating health professionals without replacing them.
“Even though we’ve heard that two doctors will be hired, it is not acceptable to allow doctors to leave as well as other health professionals to the (new) family health unit in Portimão without replacing them beforehand,” the council said, vowing that it will continue “fighting” to ensure the quality of the borough’s health care.
Meantime, ARS Algarve has fired back in a bid to “restore the truth and reassure the population”.
In a lengthy statement, the health authority says Lagoa suffers from a shortage of family doctors just like many other Algarve boroughs.
However, the regional health bosses explain that the percentage of Algarve residents with their own family doctor has grown from 53% to 81.9% in December 2016.
ARS adds that the shortage has always been compensated with the hiring of health professionals through temporary work agencies.
It also says that it launched a tender in June for the hiring of 30 doctors in the Algarve – two of which for Lagoa and another for Ferragudo – but “no candidates applied”. A similar tender was launched in November, again with no candidates taking the spots.
The health bosses guarantee, however, that the borough’s health professional shortage will continue to be compensated via temporary work agencies.