Doctors exhausted and extra pay will have limited effect

in News · 19-07-2020 12:00:00 · 0 Comments

The president of the Independent Doctors Union (SIM) says that the extra payment to recover the activity suspended because of the pandemic will have a limited effect as the doctors are exhausted and most have already exceeded 150 hours of overtime.

“It is a measure that, in practice, has very limited repercussions because we are talking about doctors who are currently exhausted. In addition, they cannot do this activity during working hours, only in overtime, and the overwhelming majority have already exceeded 150 hours of overtime,” said Roque da Cunha.

The official considers that the ordinance published on 14 July, which approves the exceptional regime of incentives for the recovery of assistance activity not carried out because of the covid-19 pandemic, "is the Government throwing sand in the eyes of the Portuguese".

"Of the billions of the programme, we are talking about pennies for investment in the National Health Service," said Roque da Cunha, stressing that the essential thing is to invest in hospital infrastructure, equipment and human resources.

“The investment must be in hospital infrastructure, in hospital equipment. To perform surgeries, it is necessary to make a set of complementary means of diagnosis and many hospitals have worse conditions than the private ones”, he said.

The secretary-general of SIM also recalled that "there were already waiting lists of one and two years before the pandemic" and considered it essential that the social sector and the private sector "actively contribute" in this matter.

“During a pandemic, time continued to run, there were cancers and hernias to be operated on and there was an accumulation, in view of a delay that already existed and that was very important. And this delay existed despite the SIGIC”, the Integrated Management System for Registrants for Surgery, created following the programmes to combat waiting lists.

SIGIC predicts that, when a public hospital is unable to guarantee the surgery within the stipulated response time, the system proposes to transfer the user to another public hospital or issue a voucher for the surgery to use one of the private or social hospitals agreed with the Ministry of Health.

In addition to teams exhausted in hospitals, Roque da Cunha recalled that the procedures now take longer (because of the disinfections required in the wake of the pandemic) and are more costly, because of the required protective equipment.

The union leader also underlined the importance of treating non-covid patients, away from hospitals, not only due to the suspension of consultations (and non-urgent diagnostic means), but also due to the fear of contamination due to covid-19.

The ordinance published on 14 July in Diário da República states that the “first consultations” of specialty that were left due to the suspension of medical activity due to the pandemic will be paid at most 95 percent and surgeries at 75 percent.

The document justifies the suspension of non-urgent medical assistance with the “need for readiness, adequacy and security of establishments and services of the National Health Service (SNS) to the pandemic”.

“Such suspension, determined on 16 March and effective until 2 May, 2020, had an impact on waiting times for consultations referred to by the Time and Hours Consultation, as well as for surgeries within the scope of the System Integrated Management of Registrants for Surgery”, he acknowledges.

According to hospital administrators, tens of thousands of surgeries and more than one million consultations will be delayed.


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