Old Lisbon hospitals to be closed by 2009

THREE OF Lisbon’s oldest hospitals are to be closed and replaced with new, state-of-the-art hospitals. The unconfirmed information was leaked in a document from a Health Ministry source to Portugal’s leading business and economy daily, Diário Económico, recently.

Desterro, São José and Capuchos are to be gradually phased out and replaced with new hospitals at Loures, Todos-os-Santos and Margem Sul, according to the report.

The former convent Desterro near Lisbon’s Intendente, which forms part of Lisbon Central Hospitals (CHL), is to be shut by February 2006, according to the president of Lisbon’s Health Authority, António Gomes Branco. He said the decision on the fate of Desterro had been taken in September and confirmed by the Health Ministry in November. The government has also said it intends to close Capuchos and São José substituting them with three new hospitals in Greater Lisbon.

PCP leader and presidential candidate Jerónimo de Sousa said that, despite not knowing details about the proposed government project, he was concerned that the Health Authority would allow private companies to run the new hospitals.

The other left-wing party, Bloco de Esquerda, questioned the government’s Health Minister, Correia de Campos, in parliament about the effect that so many announcements on health service closures would have on the public and sought assurances that present levels of public health services would not be compromised.

According to Diário Económico, which quoted a source within the Health Ministry, by 2009, the outdated central Lisbon hospitals would suffer “profound alternations in their capacities and services” implying their extinction in as far as they are presently run.

The Health Ministry’s Secretariat has declined to comment on the leaked revelations.