The protest on 15 July brought together regional political leaders and mayors, mostly from the PSD party, trade unionists and politician Cristóvão Norte (PSD), who spoke of the indignation of the demonstrators to claims that there was to be a new central hospital for the Algarve.
Cristóvão Norte told reporters that Portugal “does not have a problem with the number of doctors, but in the geographical distribution” of resources, alluding to the lack of professionals in the region which has led to issues in maternity wards and obstetrics units in Faro and Portimão.
The deputy of the PSD said that “all mechanisms should be evaluated so that Algarve users are not deprived of health services”.
Cristóvão Norte recalled that the new central hospital in the Algarve “was a second priority” for new health equipment in 2006 due to the memorandum of financial assistance signed with the troika, but in 2016 “the Government decided to launch five new hospitals “, while leaving the Algarve out.
The Social Democrat believes that despite not solving all health problems in the region, a new central health unit in the Algarve would be a “fixed point for new doctors in the region and good for career progression.”
João Dias, from the regional directorate of Faro of the Independent Union of Physicians (SIM), justified his presence at the protest with the need for the “defence of the SNS”.
The trade unionist said that to solve the problem of doctors in the Algarve it is necessary for positive discrimination.
This policy would encourage professionals to “stay in the SNS”, ending the enormous pay when “there are external contracts” to values “three times higher than those paid to SNS professionals,” he added.
João Vasconcelos, a member of the Left Bloc, considered that the protest, “regardless of who organised it”, defends the cause “of a SNS for all”, considering that the degradation of the SNS in the Algarve “started with the previous government” and the merger of three hospitals to create the Algarve hospital.
This decision has brought a worsening situation to the Algarve due to a “lack of doctors, nurses, diagnostic technicians and medicines,” he said.