Nurses question “priorities” after being asked to man beachside healthcare units

The Portuguese Nurses’ Union (SEP) has questioned the priorities of health authority ARS Algarve after nurses were asked to man beachside healthcare units.

The request has been lambasted by the union which has highlighted the plight of nurses who have been working tirelessly for almost 15 months since the start of the pandemic, which continues to demand “colossal efforts” from health professionals.

Speaking to TSF radio, SEP boss Nuno Manjua said nurses were “outraged and cannot understand ARS Algarve’s priorities,” especially considering they recently received an email saying that, “if necessary, normal activity should be reduced in order to respond to the pandemic”.

Added Manjua, manning beach health units “is not a priority”.

“With all that is being asked of nurses, who are not only performing their usual duties at hospitals and health centres but are also key players in the country’s vaccination programme,” the union says it is “impossible to respond to everything”.

Meanwhile, ARS Algarve has said that only seven such “Postos de Praia” are operating in the Algarve at present (Fuzeta, Farol, Armona, Faro, Galé, Rocha Baixinha Nascente and Quarteira on the weekends) and that it will only open more if “human resources are available”.

The region usually has around 30 beach health units open during the summer, which are designed to attend to “non-urgent” situations involving beachgoers in order to avoid clogging up local health centres and hospitals.

The health authority also stressed that its priorities are “to provide Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 assistance at its health units as well as continue with the vaccination programme currently being carried out at the region’s 11 vaccination centres”.

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