In the Algarve today to discuss the national strategy Portugal 2030, prime minister António Costa gave a 10-minute private interview with a representative from the nurses union, but balked at making any commitments.
Says regiaosul website, he also refused journalists questions on the purportedly parlous state of Faro hospital’s casualty department (click here).
“He said: we’ll see”, Nuno Manjua regional coordinator of the SEP nurses syndicate told the paper.
Manjua handed the PM the list of proposals, entitled: “The Health the Algarve needs”, presented to secretary of state Adalberto Campos Ferreira last year, “without receiving any kind of reply”.
“We are demanding an answer to this document”, Manjua stressed. “We need a public reaction for a strategy to improve health in the Algarve and value the region’s nurses”.
But while Manjua was only too ready to answer reporters’ questions, Costa himself “refused to talk to the press”, says regiaosul.
Manjua highlighted the difference to Costa’s attitude during the election campaign in 2015 when the Socialists were not yet in government. He considered nurses then as “the pillar of the SNS national health service”.
Costa is also cited as having said that although the Algarve attracted many people for holidays, it had great difficulty bringing them to the region to work.
Said Manjua, “this is just not true when it comes to nurses”, recalling that in 2016 600 vied for jobs advertised in recruitment campaigns.
“There are nurses who want to come and work here”, he insisted. “The question one has to ask is is there the government desire to hire them”.
For now, the nurses’ blueprint for better regional healthcare is once again in a ministerial briefcase on its way back to Lisbon.
Meantime, Costa’s trip today was in the company of Pedro Marques, minister for planning and infrastructure who did agree to talk to reporters – confirming the pledge he made almost exactly a year ago that ‘electrification’ of the creaking Algarve railway line is a definite priority of this government (click here).
According to Marques, the €33.6 million project is on track, with the first tenders due to start going out later this year.