Lisbon’s Santa Maria hospital “dominated by Masons, Opus Dei and political parties”

Portugal’s Hospital de Santa Maria, the largest in country, is “mined by a web of interests and loyalties to political parties, Masons and catholic organisations” like Opus Dei, a study has concluded.

The shock report has prompted a full-scale investigation by health chiefs, as the president of Santa Maria claims he is prepared to sue its authors.

Talking to Lusa news agency today, Carlos Martins said the study compromises the very essence of the state health service and adds that the Santa Maria “cannot be treated in this way”.

As the nation’s media is busy explaining, the report – ordered by the Foundation Francisco Manuel dos Santos – wasdesigned to evaluate the performance and quality of six state institutions.

Entitled “Values, institutional quality and development in Portugal”, its author Sónia Pires affirms that “Masonic interests, Opus Dei and links to political parties are still three external realities that interfere with Hospital de Santa Maria (HSM)”.

She adds that there are “strong conflicts of interest” at the hospital which involve “corruption”, and include “the exchange of favours” in areas like waiting lists.

In spite of some improvements made at the hospital since 2005, she claims the situation is “still out of control” with “regular thefts by doctors and other members of staff”.

It is a damning report that comes in the wake of claims by former clinical director Miguel Oliveira e Silva who “denounced the presence of corruption in the purchasing of medical material”, writes national tabloid Correio da Manhã.

But HSM’s president Martins maintains it has taken him by “surprise” and caused him “indignation”.

In a statement to Lusa he said the study was an act of “tremendous irresponsibility”.

Opus Dei meantime has also denied the allegations.

[email protected]