“With regard to primary health care, the reinforcement of extended and complementary hours and the implementation of `Via Verde ACES' in emergency services is underway, so that patients screened with a green or blue wristband can be referred from hospitals to health centres, with a previously defined date and time”, said the Ministry of Health.

A source from the Ministry told Lusa that these patients will be treated at the health centres to which they are referred within 24 hours.

This was one of the decisions taken at a meeting between the Minister of Health and the administrators and clinical directors of all hospitals in the Lisbon and Vale do Tejo region with an emergency service, to discuss the situation regarding the winter response plan.

According to the ministry, the influx to general emergency services is currently above that recorded in the same period of 2021, with an increase in demand for paediatric emergency services.

This greater influx, according to the Government, is due to high demand for emergencies in non-urgent situations, but also to cases of greater clinical complexity related to chronic diseases and the aging of the population, which lead to greater pressure on hospitalisations.

According to the communiqué, as part of the measures provided for in the strategic winter response plan, a priority was defined to streamline the management teams for inpatient vacancies in each hospital, for better overall emergency response.

The Ministry of Health reinforced that, in non-emergency situations, the SNS24 should be contacted first, for the appropriate referral to each situation.

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