“It is important that people have this idea, even to lower expectations a little” that the situation in the National Health Service will be resolved “instantly. It won’t”, Xavier Barreto told Lusa agency.

The person responsible argued that, if hospitals had the resources to open all emergency rooms, this “contingency plan, which, in essence, is the summer plan”, would not be necessary.

Xavier Barreto cited a recent study by PlanAPP - Center for Planning, Policy, and Foresight of Public Administration, according to which an additional 2,939 doctors (13.6%) would be needed to harmonise regional disparities, taking as a reference the highest ratio regional number of specialist doctors in primary health care and hospitals in relation to the population.

He also pointed out other estimates that had overtime and service providers (doctors on duty) as a reference and which indicate that if they were replaced by contracted doctors, around 4,000 would be needed.

“Even if we recruit all the specialists we train every year, these 3,000 or 4,000 doctors will take time to be trained and hired. Therefore, let us prepare ourselves so that in the coming years we will necessarily have to have an organised response in another way that seeks to mitigate this shortage”, he defended.

No “miracle”

The hospital administrator stressed that the situation in hospitals, in terms of emergencies, is the same as last year “and it will not be different in the coming weeks”, because the number of doctors is practically the same and, as such, “the result cannot be very different".

“Therefore, this idea of ​​there being a miracle plan (…) makes absolutely no sense,” he said, highlighting that a summer plan is essentially a contingency plan to decide, with the resources that exist, which services will be open or closed.