“Insufficient” hiring still leaves 50,000 users without a doctor in ACES Médio Tejo

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“For the last national competition, 22 vacancies for family doctors were requested, 12 were allocated and only five were filled, which is clearly insufficient”, said today to Lusa Manuel Soares, spokesperson for the Health Users Commission. do Médio Tejo (CUSMT), stressing that there is a “deficit of 28 professionals” for medical care and “more than 20% of the population has no assigned doctor”, around 50 thousand users, in a situation that he classified as “worrying”.

Manuel Soares stated that “medical care is the one that has the most problems because it is not possible to guarantee the opening of proximity health units at the moment”, adding that “only five doctors were placed, specifically one in Entroncamento, two in Ourém and two in Tomar”, and that the most affected municipalities were Abrantes, Alcanena and Ourém.

The CUSMT representative informed Lusa of the results of the meeting with the executive director of ACES Médio Tejo, Diana Leiria, held on Tuesday, having received the information that, “for the vacancies that were not filled, until the end of August a new competition will be opened” for family doctors.

“Seeing is believing, but let’s hope that there are at least three or four doctors who can really come, who have not taken place elsewhere”, he said, noting that “nominally” the ACES “has dropped from 60 thousand to 50 thousand” the number of users without a doctor assigned.

A situation that, he added, “does not mean that everyone is without medical care properly organized and clarified”, due, in particular, to service providers and other doctors hired by ACES.

Contacted by Lusa, ACES Médio Tejo confirmed that “it currently has about 50,000 users without a family doctor assigned, so it would need 28 doctors specializing in General and Family Medicine to guarantee a doctor to all registered users and regulars”.

Asked about the position of CUSMT for the “need to create more Community Care Units, with nurses and operational assistants”, the “urgent” change of the “material conditions for the provision of medical care and the opening of a new tender by the from the Regional Health Administration of Lisbon and Tagus Valley (ARSLVT), Diana Leira said that “the solution that is found for ACES Médio Tejo will be the solution that is found for the region and for the country, since”, he added, “unfortunately, this is not a problem limited to the Middle Tagus, but a national problem, transversal to all levels of care”.

On the other hand, the executive director of ACES confirmed that in the recent competition for entry into the special medical career of General and Family Medicine, 12 vacancies were allocated to ACES Médio Tejo” and that five were filled.

The CUSMT spokesperson told Lusa that the commission will remain “attentive and committed” and that “it is justified in every way that users put pressure on municipalities so that they do not abandon this demand for proximity care for all inhabitants” of the Médio Tejo, as well as CUSMT itself will put pressure on the competent authorities, not only regarding doctors, but other professionals, such as technical assistants and nurses.

At the working meeting, according to Manuel Soares, other public health issues were discussed “such as vaccination, mortality and contingency issues in the heat season, issues regarding cancer screening and diabetic retinopathy, along with issues related to the oral health”, with the latter situation deserving particular attention.

“Although with a delay of a few years, all the oral health offices were installed in all 12 health centers”, he stressed, noting, however, that “today, of the 12 health centers, only five are working and they have professionals” and that, “in the case of Fátima, Mação, Ferreira do Zêzere, Alcanena, Sardoal, Constância and Torres Novas, the professionals left the service” in the offices.

“Before there was no oral health because there were no offices, equipment and conditions, today there are offices, equipment and conditions and there are no professionals, so we are going to ask what is going on”, he said.

A new meeting with ACES was scheduled in September to “debate, among others, the issue of oral health offices and to know what are the prospects for the immediate future and the medium-term future, namely with regard to the hiring of family doctors”, taking into account that “there were doctors who refused to increase their salary to double, because they did not accept where they were going to be placed”.

“There are issues that need a finer analysis”, said Manuel Soares, recalling that “there is no alternative in terms of health care, there is no alternative to primary care” and that “every day an effort must be made” so that in some places services will not deteriorate.

ACES Médio Tejo covers 2,706 square kilometers and covers 11 municipalities with around 225,000 users/goers, comprising the municipalities of Abrantes, Alcanena, Constância, Entroncamento, Ferreira do Zêzere, Mação, Ourém, Sardoal, Tomar, Torres Novas and Vila Nova da Barquinha, all in the district of Santarém.

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