Hospital ‘housed patients in former canteens, bathrooms’

By TPN/Lusa, in World · 31-05-2019 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

The hospital in Vila Franca de Xira, north of Lisbon, was found to have housed hundreds of patients in spaces designed for canteens over a period of at least four years.

The Health Regulatory Authority (ERS) looked at complaints from patients who said they had been admitted to canteens at the hospital, concluding that “the use of canteens to house patients is not an exceptional measure and has no relation to increased demand for hospital services”.

The hospital is managed by the Vila Franca Escala Management Company on a public-private partnership basis. The company’s largest shareholder is the José de Mello Saúde group.

“In view of the data obtained, it is possible to conclude that during that period of almost four years (January 2015 to October 2018), hundreds of patients were hospitalised in canteens, most of them relating to the surgery and orthopedic services, with the maximum occupancy peak verified in August,” states the report.

The ERS found that it could “safely” include that patients at the hospital were housed in corridors and even former bathrooms as well as in canteens or lounges - spaces that “were not built for this purpose and therefore do not have the same conditions as the ... wards. “

The company running the hospital had claimed the use of former canteens to put up patients “was foreseen under the contingency plans in force”, in situations where the unit’s capacity were exhausted, during periods between October and March of each year. It stressed that, “despite the constraints”, there was a “guarantee that no patient goes without treatment due to the fact that they have less comfortable accommodation.”

However, the ERS took the view that it was proved that the use of canteen spaces was not an exceptional measure.

It ruled that the hospital has 30 days to detail steps it has adopted to resolve the situation, or face fines that could range from €1,000 to €44,800.


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