New step forward for Algarve Central Hospital
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New step forward for Algarve Central Hospital

The Portuguese government is moving forward with the study and preparation of a new public-private partnership (PPP) to build and equip the long-promised Algarve Central Hospital.

The announcement came in the government’s official State gazette Diário da República on Wednesday.

The government has also decided to establish a “project team” dedicated to the hospital.

In August, the government had already revoked the previous PPP deal which was launched in 2008, having promised to eventually move forward with a study into the best way to finally get this project off the ground.

“Given that the conditions necessary for the tender to proceed were not met, it was determined to end the prior procedure for the conclusion of the public-private partnership,” the government says in the resolution published on Wednesday, recognising “the importance and urgency” of the construction and opening, as soon as possible, of the new hospital.

In this sense, it continues, “this goal was included in the program of the XXIII constitutional government and this commitment was made for the current legislature,” and it is necessary to “adopt all measures” so that the entities involved “start their work as soon as possible”.

“It is therefore (…) important to quickly adopt the decision to launch a new pre-contractual procedure and move forward with the definition of the most suitable and fastest contractual model for the construction of that hospital, with a view to ensuring the quality of care for the people of the Algarve,” the document reads.

Tender in 2023?

The health minister had already stated on October 19 in Parliament, before the Parliamentary Health Committee, that he hoped to be able to launch the tender for construction and maintenance of the new Algarve Central Hospital under a public-private partnership (PPP) in 2023.

Manuel Pizarro, who in previous statements had already come out in favour of managing hospitals under this system, said: “Any decision that the government would take today on the launch of a PPP for the clinical management of a hospital would take four to five years to materialise”.

The government justified the termination of the initial procedure, launched in 2008, with the fact that the bidder still in the tender had initially requested the postponement of the delivery of the final proposals and later, in 2019, the cancellation of the bank guarantee provided.

The project for a new hospital in the Algarve dates back to 2002, when then health minister, Luís Filipe Pereira (PSD-social democrat), constituted, among others, an interdepartmental group for the launch of public-private partnerships, namely a new hospital to be installed in Parque das Cidades, between Faro and Loulé.

The following year, in 2003, the land for its construction was approved, in 2007 the healthcare profile and dimensions were approved and in 2008, the then prime minister, José Sócrates (PS), even laid the first stone of the hospital, which would be ready in 2013.

Source: Lusa