(ANSA) – LISBON, DECEMBER 06 – After a chaotic weekend in several emergency hospital services in Portugal, this week is not going to be any better either, especially in the metropolitan area of Lisbon. The average waiting time for a patient in the capital in an emergency room is about eleven hours, if you are lucky enough to find it open. Those in operation suffer from the closure of other centers due to lack of staff. Today’s news is that the pediatric emergency service in Setúbal, a large town south of the Tagus and a few kilometers from Lisbon, will remain closed for the whole week.
The Portuguese National Health Service does not seem to have been able to overcome the stress of the pandemic, and the rigors of the cold season, with the consequent increase in illnesses, certainly don’t help. The context is aggravated by the fact that there is a shortage of family doctors. In 2022, at the peak of retirements among medical personnel, the number of Portuguese without a family doctor reached one million and 400 thousand, 25% of them right in the capital.
Organized in neighborhood health centres, the Family Health Units (sort of community houses or polyclinic spaces), in recent times general practitioners have also extended the hours of reception of the public, but the response is still insufficient and this ends fatally to pour into emergency rooms already exhausted. The new Minister of Health, Manuel Pizarro, who replaced the previous minister Marta Temido in September following cases of death in emergency hospital services, denies the chaos, but recognizes the difficult moment and announces new hires starting from early next year. (HANDLE).
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