São Brás’ physiotherapy centre – the only state-run facility for victims of serious accidents and limb loss in southern Portugal – is going private.
ARS, the Algarve’s health authority, has confirmed that an international tender for the rights to run the trouble-torn centre is to be approved by the Council of Ministers and will be launched later this month.
It is the only alternative available, explain Algarve leaders. The centre has been running on empty for months, with a “lack of health professionals and medical equipment”.
“The centre is slowly dying,” said Jorge Botelho, president of the Algarve Municipalities Association (AMAL), following a tense meeting at the centre earlier this week that brought together local mayors, councillors and regional health representatives.
“For over a year, we have been hearing about a new management system but so far nothing has happened. The wait has been too long for an essential matter like health,” he said.
In a press release, São Brás council explained that because of all the logistical problems the centre is only admitting 50% of the patients it could be treating. This means only 27 of the 54 beds are being used.
Mayor Vítor Guerreiro reiterated the facility’s importance, not only for the injured and damaged people of the region but for the local economy which benefits from spin-off business.
“But more than anything it is fundamental to ensure these specialist health services are assured to those who need them,” he added. “Weeks of waiting can determine the evolution of a person’s recovery. Thus we hope this centre will be seen as a health care priority.”
Managed by ARS since 2013, the centre treats neurological, rheumatic, orthopaedic, pulmonary and cardiovascular injuries. It was the place where double-amputee mum “Pathy” Nascimento learnt to prepare for the new legs she received in 2014 (click here http://portugalresident.com/hospital-pulls-out-stops-for-pathy) and it has taken multiple cases of stroke injuries, teaching people who to take back control, however limited.