It has been described by hospital authorities as a “transitory situation” but it left a child, two young people and “various adult patients” in the lurch last week as three orthopedic surgeons contracted by Faro Hospital either had their phones disconnected, or were asleep.
Among patients waiting for attention was multi-trauma victim, a young person with a broken leg and a child with a metacarpal hand fracture, reports Correio da Manhã.
According to the paper, the three doctors were all supposed to be “guaranteeing” surgical cover at the hospital last Thursday evening. But instead of being available, two had their phones switched off, and one “was discovered asleep on the 6th floor”.
Jorge Roque, secretary general of the independent syndicate of doctors has described the situation as “disgusting”.
He told the paper: “It is disgusting to learn that patients are not receiving necessary care when these doctors have been hired and are being paid €50 per hour, a sum that is very much higher than that received by other professionals working in casualty departments”.
Nonetheless, hospital authorities said the problem was “transitory” and all patients went on to be treated in Faro “without having to be transferred to Lisbon or any of the clinics or other units in the region”.
Faro administrators are “evaluating the circumstances of the facts”, adds CM, and may take “eventual corrective measures”.
“A scenario where penalties might be applied to the companies contracted to provide services” is possible, the paper added.
WARNING TO ANYONE WHO REQUIRES HOSPITAL ASSISTANCE
Meantime, the warning to anyone who requires hospital assistance is ‘make sure you go through the right channels first’.
From today (August 1) patients who have been sent by their local health centre or the Linha Saúde 24 helpline (tel no 808 24 24 24) will be given priority when they arrive at casualty departments “within the degree of seriousness” of their condition.
“It is a way of managing citizens’ access to healthcare, as well as investing in the articulation between primary care and hospitals”, explains Diário de Notícias.
News of the change in policy came earlier this year, with August 1 being given as the start date.
The idea is to reduce situations where people arrive in casualty departments without being evaluated by health centre staff – and one of the other boons for patients is that if they adhere to the new policy, they will be exempt from hospital admission charges (taxas moderadoras).
Photo: SARA ALVES/OPEN MEDIA GROUP