Triage system at Algarve hospitals is saving lives

THE MANCHESTER Triage System (so called due to it having been pioneered at a Manchester hospital), which is being used to assess the urgency of cases at the A & E department at Portimão’s Barlavento Hospital, is contributing to the saving of hundreds of lives.

The system, which has been in operation at Portimão for around one year and at Faro hospital for five months, ensures that patients are attended to according to the seriousness of their condition. However, the region’s hospitals continue to be frequented by people whose cases are not considered to be emergencies, something that unfortunately causes unnecessary complications for the service.

In practice, the system works in a very simple way: the patient arrives at the hospital and is received by a health professional – a doctor or nurse. The patient’s condition is evaluated and it is decided whether or not their state will alter over the coming five hours. They are then given a colour. Red corresponds to emergency cases which must be attended to immediately, orange is attributed to very urgent cases that will be attended to within 10 minutes and yellow for urgent patients that must be seen to within 30 minutes. The colour green is given to patients whose cases are not considered to be urgent and who can be attended to within a period of two hours. Finally, white and blue signify cases that are not at all urgent and which can wait up to four or five hours for treatment.

Research carried out recently among medical staff and patients at Portimão Barlavento Hospital, the first to use the system in the Algarve, has been met with favourable results. The majority were very satisfied with the system, declaring that it has improved efficiency and very likely saved many lives.