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Legal loophole puts cancer screenings at risk

Faro Hospital has assured patients that all urgent breast cancer screenings will be performed after an Algarve MP questioned the government over a lack of radiology and oncology doctors at the health facility.

Paulo Sá, an MP representing the PCP political party in the region, asked in Parliament why there were few doctors at the hospital’s oncology unit.

According to the politician, Faro Hospital recently “suspended routine breast screenings, which would affect hundreds of patients”.

Pedro Nunes of the hospital’s Administration Council explained that, up to now, doctors were being paid extra per screening performed after work hours, a proceeding which had “no legal basis”.

“All services provided after work hours have to be paid as overtime not per unit,” he said, adding that some doctors had opted not to provide their services after work hours until the situation was resolved.

Further instructions concerning overtime payment procedures are currently awaited from the Regional Health Administration (ARS) of the Algarve.

However, Pedro Nunes assured that all urgent breast cancer cases would be dealt with although routine breast screenings could suffer some delays.

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