Edition 1458
13 January 2018
Edition: 1458

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Glare on Faro Hospital after nurses denounce Emergency ward ‘inadequacies’

by Carrie-Marie Bratley, in News · 11-01-2018 13:42:00 · 0 Comments

An unfavourable spotlight has been thrust on the Algarve’s Faro Hospital after a group of nurses denounced the ‘undignified’ conditions in which hospitalised patients are being kept in the unit’s emergency ward.

Glare on Faro Hospital after nurses denounce Emergency ward ‘inadequacies’

Shocking pictures of half-naked patients strewn on beds arranged rows-deep in a small hospital ward were published on a Facebook page over the weekend by the head of the country’s Nurses’ Board.
The anonymous group of nurses brought what they described as a “chaotic” and “deplorable” situation to the highest authorities’ attention, and said they won’t be held responsible “for any possible or future events that result in harmful consequences” for patients or family members.
The Health Minister passed the hot potato onto the Algarve Regional Health Board (ARS Algarve) to address, which responded by saying the images were not “unusual” for this time of year.
Speaking to newspaper Público, the head of the Nurses’ Board, Ana Rita Cavaco, said in her opinion the problems at Faro Hospital are “structural”, and the hospital “has many weak points”.
She added there are many other hospitals in Portugal also battling difficulties, such as the units in Gaia, Leiria, Coimbra, and the Santo António and São João hospital’s in Porto.
On Sunday, she shared images of the alleged “chaos” at Faro Hospital on the Board’s Facebook page, as well as the nurses’ statement in full.
In an impassioned account accompanying the images published over the weekend, Ana Rita Cavaco said: “Every day I fight against this disgrace. I am violently attacked for saying that the dignity of the people is in the trash with regard to the SNS.”
Paulo Moragado, president of the ARS, said the organism “does not identify with the pictures shared.”
According to the group of nurses, who want to remain anonymous, although the number of patients admitted has increased at Faro Hospital, human and material resources are increasingly scarce, which is one of the factors that has led to a “decreased quality of care” and “progressive degradation” of the ability to respond to adversity.
“At the same time, the number of patients admitted to the emergency room and their length of stay in the emergency room has also increased”, they add, stating that “the number of nurses scheduled for shift work has remained the same and in some cases has been lower than the stipulated minimum”.
According to the health care providers, the service has proved to be “incapable of meeting the needs of users, family members and professionals who work there on a daily basis”; a situation they claim has dragged on for over two years.
And although they admit that the origin of some of the problems is beyond the hospital management’s control, they say that the administration “has failed in defending the needs and interests of the population”.
The group said at times there are up to 80 patients in a room meant for 24, and “the ratio of nurses is never adjusted
accordingly”.
“The space and ratios to which they are subject do not allow the provision of quality care and are a broth of error. They are denied dignity. They are denied the right to eat (many do not eat just because they have no one to give them food). Many die alone. Alone, surrounded by so many people”.
Since the images and statement were released, ruffling feathers and causing ripples of disbelief throughout the wider community, the ARS released a statement saying it would be increasing the number of beds available in the region’s hospitals.
On Wednesday it said “The Algarve Regional Health Administration (ARS) is working to open another 27 hospital beds in the region, to cover the influx of patients, totalling 49 beds triggered under the seasonal contingency plan for winter.”
According to the statement, there are already 22 extra beds activated in the hospitals of Faro and Portimão, and now the ‘orange phase’ of the seasonal contingency plan is being activated to provide more beds.
Moreover, according to the ARS -Algarve, during the month of January, the expansion and reconversion of another 20 continuous care beds will be activated in Portimão and another ten in Azinhal (Castro Marim).

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Edition 1458
13 January 2018
Edition: 1458

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter