IN AS little as six months, the Ordem dos Médicos, the Portuguese equivalent of the UK’s General Medical Council, has filed legal cases against 251 doctors, reported Portugal Diário.
The majority of cases, brought by patients against their doctors complaining about the conduct of clinics, have centered around gynaecology, obstetrics, general practice and surgery units.
But there has also been a rise in the number of sexual abuse complaints. National Health Service hospitals, especially Accident & Emergency and operative services, seem to be the main areas provoking denunciations from patients. These are followed by health centres, private clinics, hospitals, and even old people’s homes.
Dealing with these complaints, the Ordem’s Doctor’s Disciplinary Regulations cite four disciplinary sanctions: first warning, second warning, suspension and, finally, expulsion (being struck off). In certain cases, the process could be referred to criminal courts, with prison sentences of three years or more, depending on the gravity of the proven crime.