Order claims statement about no shortage of doctors in the Algarve is “false”

By Kim Schiffmann, in News · 11-12-2019 16:35:00 · 0 Comments

The Ordem dos Médicos said that the statement by the Minister of Health that there is no shortage of doctors at the University Hospital Centre of the Algarve is “false”, denouncing that there are missing clinicians on the scales for the coming weeks.

“It does not seem to me that there is a shortage of doctors at the Algarve Hospital and University Centre or at the University of Coimbra Hospitals. The numbers about the health professionals that exist in the National Health Service and specifically in these hospitals are public,” said Minister Marta Dreaded to reporters in Barcelos, Braga district, in reaction to information about risks of bankruptcy of the urgencies of those hospitals.

“In the face of this false statement, the Medical Association [OM] could not fail to restore the truth. Especially because the president of the Order of Doctors, Miguel Guimarães, was at the Hospital de Faro (University Hospital Centre of the Algarve, CHUA), where a few days ago the urgency was assured with a single surgeon and where the scales of coming weeks have periods without any doctors,” the OM responded in a statement.

The Health Minister also said that in the case of CHUA, this month's scales are “complete” and that if necessary and internal teams feel unable to do more extraordinary work, there are alternative teams.

The OM note states that "the problems reported were cross-cutting to various specialties and yet there are doctors who want to join CHUA staff and have been awaiting tender or authorization from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance for long months."

The Order of Doctors “regrets” that Marta Dreaded “conceals the reality of the Algarve”.

“According to figures from the Central Administration of the Health System itself, as shown in the last published social report, CHUA is the hospital centre of the country with the largest volume of medical services, with 238,706 hours in 2018. With the provision of medical services, CHUA returns to the first place, with 8.3 million Euros”, underlines the OM.

In addition, the statement said, “doctors also worked 223,348 hours overtime in 2018, an 8 percent increase over 2017,” adding that “the region has 2.4 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants, only Alentejo has fewer, and the national average is 2.9 in the National Health Service”.

“If these numbers are not enough for the Minister of Health to recognize the serious shortage that is affecting the Algarve and should be a national priority, then the guardianship should explain unacceptable waiting times, which leave people without access to healthcare in appropriate time,” says the president of the Medical Association, cited in the note.

Miguel Guimarães points out that, in the Algarve, a patient has to wait, for example, almost 1,400 days for a priority orthopaedic consultation, while in the case of pneumology, 718 days are required, urology 663 and neurosurgery 269.

According to the chairman of the doctors, for surgery "the scenario is no better", with waits of 248 days for neurosurgery, 195 days for ophthalmology, 185 days for otolaryngology, 160 days for urology, and 132 days for orthopaedics.

“No more trying to deceive citizens by spreading false news. If, instead of denying reality, the guardianship took over the existing problems, the NHS and its professionals would at least feel more respected,” reads the statement of the Order of Doctors.

In a position sent to Lusa agency, the Ministry of Health “reiterated that the evolution of the number of medical professionals in the University Hospital Centres of the Algarve (CHUA) and Coimbra (CHUC) has been positive and in the sense of reinforcing the hiring of specialists. "

The Ministry of Health adds that between December 2015 and August this year, 59 more specialists were hired for CHUA: there were 407 specialists in December 2015 compared to 466 existing in August this year.


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