The Algarve branch of the Social Democrat PSD party last weekend demanded the government takes urgent measures against a lack of medical specialists, such as orthopaedists, in the region’s public hospitals.
In a statement the party said it was “inconceivable” that the region had only one orthopaedic specialist working over the 48 hours spanning 31 December and New Year’s Day.
In comments to Lusa News Agency, in response to the PSD’s concerns, the head of the regional hospital group’s administration board (CHA), Joaquim Ramalho, admitted the Algarve fell short of having the ideal number of orthopaedists – or six specialists per every 24 hours – for its hospitals over the afore-mentioned period, but stressed coverage for patients is guaranteed.
“The provision of urgent health care in the region, even in the area of orthopaedics, is ensured”, said Joaquim Ramalho, adding that in addition to the CHA’s teams, a collaboration protocol is in place with the Algarve’s Hospital Particular private group to reinforce emergency orthopaedics.
Through the protocol, the CHA aims to prevent patients having to travel beyond the Algarve, to other regions such as Lisbon, as happened in a case in June, to see a specialist.
In emergencies, all National Health Service (SNS) patients are advised to make their way to the local public hospital’s emergency units, to be treated there, and if needed they will be sent on to other units.
In its statement, the PSD/Algarve went on to affirm that there has been “a more acute and recurrent attendance to flaws in the health services of the region, a fact that is undoubtedly attested by the reduction in the quantity and quality of healthcare provision compared to previous years.”
The CHA’s board of directors said it had been taken by surprise that the party issued the statement, because it “does not contribute to solving the problems, and can only contribute towards creating unease among the population.”