Ordem dos Médicos criticizes “very weak” inter-hospital transport in the Algarve – Observer


The president of the Southern Regional Council of the Ordem dos Médicos warned this Tuesday of the need to reorganize the Pediatrics and Obstetrics services in the two main hospitals in the Algarve, criticizing the “very weak” inter-hospital transport systems.

Inter-hospital transport systems are very bad, they are very weak. We don’t have ambulances to do this and, in the summer, they were dependent on the firefighters. Firefighters were at the fires and there was no one to transfer patients between hospitals. This cannot happen”, said Alexandre Valentim Lourenço, on the sidelines of a visit to Portimão Hospital.

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Without ensuring “the transport of a critical patient to the place where he should be, it is not possible to organize services or guarantee safety to the population”, warned the official, in statements to journalists, pointing out a specific case that affects the Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve. (CHUA), which manages the hospitals in Faro and Portimão.


We have a newborn transport ambulance, with a single doctor who is walking around — and who is also in charge of the Intensive Care Unit of Neonatology in Faro. If he is on duty on one side, he cannot transport sick people to another,” he pointed out.

For the director of the Ordem dos Médicos, the resolution of the problem that affects the childbirth and pediatric emergency units in Faro and Portimão, which close several times due to difficulty in ensuring scales, may go through the termination of services and differentiation between the two units.

The problem in the Algarve is that a maternity hospital of this size is unfeasible. Which there has to be a restructuring of services: this hospital [de Portimão] one thing has to be done and Faro Hospital has to do something complementary”, he maintained.

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If in Portimão they close services “due to lack of pediatricians”continued the head of the OM, in Faro there is a “lack of obstetriciansbut enough pediatricians”, which reveals “a hospital structure and organization problem” that cannot be solved with “bandages”.

Still lacking “a solid technical opinion from the specialist college” of the OM, Alexandre Valentim Lourenço said that Portimão will be able to guarantee the consultations and the programming block of deliveries and elective cesarean sections will be ensured in Faro.

What is important to us is to guarantee the quality and safety of childbirth care in the Algarve. If this involves merging services and organizing them in another way, if it guarantees quality and safety, the Order will support such a system. If this merger does not guarantee quality and safety, an alternative must be found”, he added.

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In Portimão, the president of the Southern Regional Council of the Ordem dos Médicos observed a hospital that is “well equipped physically”, even with spaces “better than some spaces in hospitals in the metropolitan region of Lisbon”, but has human resources “very poor in terms of number for the quality and needs of the region”.

There are few doctors and very tired doctors. I have information that, in Internal Medicine, there is a doctor who, in three months, 350 overtime. This means that if we were to transpose this to an annual system, it would be more than a thousand overtime hours. It is impossible to have systems that work in the long term with these conditions. And it is necessary to do 350 hours, because instead of having 15 or 20 doctors, we have seven or eight“, he underlined.

The president of the Southern Regional Council of the Ordem dos Médicos also expressed his concern about the “political and decision impasse in the Ministry of Health, which does not help to make decisions”after the resignation of Minister Marta Temido, who remains in office with no announced succession.

“It is very urgent, the successor should already be nominated. More than having a new minister, it is urgent to have a plan for, in the coming years, to modify and change the health system in a way that corresponds to the needs of the Portuguese”, he concluded.

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