BUILDING the new Hospital Central do Algarve at Parque das Cidades is “not a priority”, according to Correia de Campos, former Minister for Health who is currently involved in the Socialists’ campaign for the forthcoming general election. He has made it clear, in several public statements, that he feels a new hospital for the Algarve should not be considered as an urgent case among the list of new hospitals planned for Portugal.
A crime against the Algarve
News of this controversial view is causing outrage in the region. Faro Câmara President, José Vitorino, commented: “It would be a crime against the Algarve to delay the construction of the Hospital Central.” He threatened that “it could be necessary to mobilise the people”, clearly hinting at a call for public protest should a definitive delay become official policy.
Vitorino underlined the fact that Faro and Loulé Câmaras have put in 70 per cent of the 67 million euros that have already been invested in Parque das Cidades. The President also highlighted that his câmara “has guaranteed, since 2002, together with the government, that there will be a new hospital, a regional laboratory and a health centre built at Parque das Cidades”.
The new hospital is considered by many as fundamental to the improvement of health care services in the Algarve and the tender for the project is due to be launched this spring. However, it now seems there is the danger of a delay to the project going ahead on time should the Socialist party win power on February 20.
The issue of the Hospital Central do Algarve is certain to cause an intense political battle, but it is just one of the many health-related scandals to add to the list over the past 12 months.
The region has witnessed a series of strikes by medical staff at Faro Hospital concerning overtime pay, residents in Lagos have been left without an operating theatre for nearly a year at the borough’s hospital and cancer patients are still waiting for news on the new radiotheraphy unit. In addition, there is still much concern over long waiting lists for appointments at the region’s Centros de Saúde and overcrowding at Faro Hospital.