Hospital de Faro by Sara Alves 17_0.JPG

Three Faro surgeons at risk of expulsion for going AWOL during night shift in casualty

The case of three orthopedic surgeons who reportedly went AWOL during a night shift at Faro hospital last week is not being swept under the carpet. According to reports, the doctors’ association (Ordem dos Médicos) and CHA hospital administration have opened inquiries.

The worst case scenario could see all three specialists being “struck off”, writes national tabloid Correio da Manhã, which has already intimated that “financial penalties” may be levied on the service companies through which the medical professionals were contracted (click here).

Lighter punishment could still result in any one of the trio being suspended, adds the paper, carrying a statement from the doctors’ order which suggests the doctors “could have seriously violated the deontological code of the order”.

As our report last week explained, two of the doctors had their phones allegedly switched off when they should have been on duty in the casualty department. The third was discovered asleep on the 6th floor – far from the comings and goings of the emergency service which had admitted one child, two young people and “various adults” for urgent surgery.

As it was, the CHA health administration running the hospital has stressed that the situation was brought under control without any of the patients’ having to be transferred for treatment elsewhere.

But the situation has highlighted what the doctors’ association calls one of the “base problems of the national health service”, which no measures up until now appear to have remedied.

As Observador website explains: “In a statement, the doctors’ association stresses as “exaggerated” the recourse to intermediary companies dealing in medical labour, when the correct solutions should be found via investment and good management of the state health service.

“The Government and the Health Ministry have infinite blame for the situation that occurred, just as they have in many others of a similar nature”, said the association.

Difficulties in hiring permanent medical professionals to the Algarve are systemic, but this week 51 new vacancies were opened (click here), and it remains to be seen whether candidates can be attracted to fill them.