Portimão Hospital Photo: OPEN MEDIA GROUP

Protestors gather outside Portimão Hospital…again

New call for more investment in SNS health service

Around 100 people gathered in front of Portimão Hospital on Saturday in protest against the deteriorating public health services in the Algarve.

Holding posters with messages such as “No to the closure of maternity, obstetrics and paediatrics units at Portimão Hospital”, “Health is a right” and “No to the degradation of healthcare”, the protestors once again called for more investment in the national health service (SNS).

Portimão Hospital in particular has been affected by temporary closures of its maternity, obstetrics and paediatrics units in the last year, particularly over the weekend, forcing pregnant women in the Western Algarve to travel all the way to Faro.

“More investment is necessary in the Algarve health sector to avoid the constraints and closure of hospital services which have become more and more frequent in Portimão,” Bruno Luz from the Commission of National Health Service Users of the Western Algarve told Lusa news agency.

Said Luz, the bulk of the investment should go into “creating conditions to retain doctors and nurses in the region.

“At the moment, from what we have heard from doctors, there are no incentives for doctors and other (health) professionals to remain in the Algarve,” he said.

This has led to the “deterioration of healthcare at hospitals and health centres in the Algarve because there are no concrete measures from the government to resolve the situation.

“It is a problem that worsens year after year due to the incomprehensible passiveness of political decisionmakers,” Luz said.

As he stressed, protests outside Portimão Hospital have been taking place for many years, with protesters raising concerns about the “degradation of the national health service”.

Many health professionals have chosen to move to the private health sector as the national health service is simply unable to retain its workers, the commission stresses.

Thus “immediate and concrete measures are needed to resolve problems which have been identified years ago and which compromise medical care available to the Algarve population and those who choose the region for their holidays,” he adds.

Bruno Luz also vowed that the protests will continue until the government acts to stop the closure of hospital services.

By Michael Bruxo
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