The emergency room situation at Faro hospital is “unacceptable” and similar to that of a “third world hospital”, warns the Union of Democratic Nurses from Portugal (SINDEPOR).

“Faro hospital has other problems that we will discuss at a meeting with the Board of Directors, but what is happening in the Emergency Room is unacceptable, it is a third world hospital and not one you would find in a European Union country”, criticised Luís Mós, coordinator of the southern region of SINDEPOR, who visited the unit this week.

In a statement, the union leader says that, although we are not yet in the peak of summer “the situation is already such that it should lead those who are responsible for the hospital and for health in Portugal to act immediately”.

Luís Mós says that on the day he visited the Faro unit of the Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve (CHUA), “at 15:15 there were 80 patients in the emergency department, but by 17:30 the number had already risen to 116 and ambulances “seven were waiting, having reached 12 last Sunday”.

According to SINDEPOR, there are around 20 nurses lacking in the Emergency Department of Faro hospital, a service that does not have space for a population “which usually triples in the summer” and where “material is also scarce”, with a lack of stretchers, wheelchairs and chairs for the sick, as well as air conditioning.

Exhausted staff

According to Luís Mós, the nurses at ER “are exhausted” and some “work 150, 160 or 170 hours per month”, with “several requests for transfer” without response from the nursing management, “under threat of human resources becoming even more scarce”.

“On a morning this week, the scenario inside the Emergency Room was one of human degradation, with the corridors full of stretchers with patients in need of care, most of them elderly”.

According to another nurse, "there are patients who enter the emergency room on the firefighter's stretcher, are seen and leave on the firefighter's stretcher because there are no hospital stretchers available".

Another nurse pointed out that the “quality of care in the Emergency Department has regressed by 10 years”.

In recent days, gynecology and obstetrics emergencies have been closed all over the country, due to difficulties in ensuring staff for shifts.