Fernando Araújo, who chairs the board of directors of the largest hospital in the North, even said that "there is a risk that the average life expectancy, which has always increased in European countries, will begin to reduce". "Our children may live less than we do," he argued, pointing out that maintaining care for patients who do not have covid-19 is now "a challenge," with the search for coronavirus-infected patients joining "more tired health professionals" or even absent from work, whether they are sick, because they are quarantined or have to be with their children.
Although hospitals are "the safest places in terms of infections", public units are not operating in a network "in a sufficiently coherent or articulated way" to give "a very sustained response" to the pandemic and everything else. "Many hospitals continue to work in isolation and this is not the best way," he said, stressing that "planning and organisation are fundamental and are still lacking" and that private hospitals and social institutions need to be involved in the network.
The president of the Portuguese Association of Private Hospitalization, Óscar Gaspar, said that private hospitals, which provided more than 600 beds to compensate for shortages in public hospitals, including 86 beds for patients with covid-19, have received more than 500 patients transferred from public hospitals. "The coordination is done by the Regional Health Administrations, but hospitals define who goes," he said, noting that primary health care is not currently "the gateway of the National Health Service" and proposing that "in the present and future" private and social institutions may also be called to intervene in this sector.