The Algarve's current radiotherapy service in Faro

Spanish company wants to manage Algarve radiotherapy service… in Seville

Company proposes transferring patients who need treatment to Spain

“Surprise” and “incredulity” have been two of the reactions to news that Algarve health authority CHUA is ‘considering’ a bid from a Spanish company to ‘take over the region’s radiotherapy service’… by transferring all patients needing treatment to Seville.

The AOA (Algarve Oncology Association) views the plan as “a serious trampling over rights of oncology patients”, and is demanding clarification.

CHUA for its part has stressed the decision has not yet been made.

The fact that it is even an option, however, is the nub of this issue.

Tabloid Correio da Manhã has presented the story today as “Spaniards want to manage radiotherapy”.

The Spanish group (as yet unidentified) is just one of the companies competing in an international public tender put out by CHUA for radiotherapy in the Algarve. The service would include radiosurgery and PET CT scans (positron emission tomography – computed tomography).

Right now radiotherapy services for patients in the Algarve are provided by the Clínica de Radioncologia do Algarve, in Faro.

There is no SNS radiotherapy unit, albeit pressure for one to be constructed goes back to the turn of the century when Faro city council donated a plot of land for this purpose – and there was a protocol drawn up between the 16 Algarve councils and the AOA to raise €681,000 to start the project by charging each and every inhabitant the princely sum of just €1.

Since then, very little has moved forwards – hence this international tender which has so shocked the AOA as well as local PSD politicians.

CM describes Algarve MPs Luís Gomes and Ofélia Ramos as “surprised” by the possible transfer to Spain of patients who need treatments.

“CHUA should have stipulated that services are carried out in the region”, Luís Gomes considers – describing it as “lamentable” that people already in states of some fragility could be expected to travel 400 kms for treatments.

Looking at the situation another way, it could be described as “lamentable” that CHUA hasn’t considered transferring patients to Lisbon for treatment (as this would cut down kms to be travelled by at least half…)

For the moment, this is simply a ‘storm’, with no certainties either way.

The AOA has written how it sees the situation, asking for clarification to CHUA, the President of the Republic and health minister Marta Temido.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com