healthy concept; Doctor checking patient's heart with stethoscope at a hospital

Thousands descend on Portugal’s hospitals

Avalanche of demand on A&E “could get worse”, doctors warn

Hospitals are seeing demand on their A&E departments reach records.

Just as we reported on an incisive article in PáginaUm last week, authorities have all but admitted that the general health of the population has never been quite as bad as this.

“They are in the main non-urgent situations”, clogging the country’s casualty waiting rooms, says SIC today. “But they condition the attention that could be given to those who need it most”.

As one of our readers has suggested, the sudden rush of demand by people could be linked to the ‘dust clouds from the Sahara’ that have blown onto the mainland twice in recent weeks. Large numbers of people have sought hospital treatment for respiratory infections.

There could be all kinds of reasons: Covid hasn’t disappeared (and seems to be on the rise in terms of the risk of infections); flu (‘gripe A’) is proving a potentially fatal ‘partner’ with Covid in the most vulnerable, say sources.

It doesn’t help that “almost half the cases” arriving at A&E departments fall into the bracket of “false emergencies” – people who could be dealt with by a GP but due to SNS failings, have no chance of getting an appointment to see one.

And this is why doctors fear the situation could get even worse, before it gets better.

SIC suggests children are getting flu ‘late in the season’ right now. The mass of polar air forecast for the mainland won’t help the situation.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com