After visits to health centres in the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon, the Alentejo and the Algarve, which will complement the information from the survey sent to all general and family medicine doctors to investigate the situation in primary health care, the Medical Association warned that professionals at these centres are still busy with tasks related to the pandemic and with little time for other patients.
The official also said that, in many health centres, "There has not even been a return to normality".
Alexandre Lourenço recalled that the health centres received different guidelines from the regional health administrations for the response to the pandemic, “without coherence”.
“In some situations they gave autonomy to the health centre to adapt and respond, in others they didn't. Many had to obey by rules that often had no logical or practical application”, he pointed out.
He stressed that health centre doctors and nurses saw the covid-19 vaccination as "a national mission", but that they "did not expect to be called upon as brutally as they were".
Alexandre Lourenço also pointed out the delays in screenings that depend on primary health care, saying that, in the case of cervical cancer, they are already “a year and a half late”.
The specialist recalled that in screenings that do not depend on the functioning of the health centre, such as in the case of breast cancer, which is based on ultrasounds that can be done outside the health centre, doctors make the prescriptions and people are starting doing them again, but that, for example, in the screening of the cervix, “cytologies are not being done”.
“The screenings were often carried out by doctors with the help of nurses and they are not one or the other. (…) Cervical cancer is paradigmatic, there is no systematic screening. They are being done in a sporadic way, that is, the patient appears with complaints and the screening is carried out”, he explained.