The Minister of Health said this Tuesday that they are working to make it possible for the Hospital de Loures to have the pediatric emergency room open again during the day on weekends, a change that is conditional on resolving the shortage of doctors. . Manuel Pizarro recalled that the closure did not result from a political decision, but from a lack of human resources. With regard to the resignation of the internal medicine team leaders at the general emergency department at Hospital São Francisco Xavier, the minister said that he would speak with the clinicians to understand the “exact reasons” that led to the resignation.
“The guarantee I gave is the one I now repeat. We are going to work to see if it is possible for the Loures hospital emergency room to also operate during the day, between 9 am and 9 pm, not only from Monday to Friday, but also at the weekend”, said Manuel Pizarro on the sidelines of a meeting between ministers of health that took place in Brussels, rejecting the idea of generalized contestation for the closure of the pediatric emergencies in Loures during the night period and on weekends.
“I don’t think there’s widespread opposition. The map that was released by the Executive Board of the SNS (DE-SNS) is much more moderate than many technical proposals that have been released and seeks to ensure what we believe is essential: that people can have access to quality emergency services in safety and that we have predictability in relation to the way the system works”, he defended in statements to televisions.
The reorganization of pediatric emergencies was announced this Monday by DE-SNS. Of the 14 emergencies in the Lisbon metropolitan area, ten remain open 24 hours a day and another four are closed at night. Loures will also be closed during the weekend. This organization will remain until the 30th of June.
“In the case of Loures, it was not an organizational or political decision that led to the closure of the emergency. It was the lack of professionals, namely pediatricians. Only if we are able to resolve this shortage will we be able to change the hours ”, said Manuel Pizarro, repeating that he hopes that “it will still be possible to reverse ”the daytime closure of these emergencies at weekends.
“In any case, I must say that whether at night or at the weekend, the children of Loures and their families are protected by the operation of other emergencies, namely in the hospital of Santa Maria and Hospital Dona Estefânia”, he said. , noting that “changes are always moments of a certain disturbance” and that the measures are being monitored and will be subject to evaluation and “corrections, if necessary”.
Dialogue with doctors
The minister was also asked about the resignation en bloc submitted by the heads of the internal medicine team at the general emergency department at Hospital São Francisco Xavier (Lisbon) due to lack of working conditions. Manuel Pizarro stated that he will speak with clinicians when he arrives in Portugal. “I will talk to the emergency team leaders at São Francisco Xavier, as we have done with everyone. The executive director of the SNS and I have maintained this dialogue. I have, when I return to Portugal, to have a conversation to understand what exact motivations are behind this dismissal.”
“But there is no doubt that we have, in Portugal, a problem of excessive influx to emergency rooms. This is not the people’s responsibility. People go to the emergency room because they can’t find any other answer. We have to work collectively to find that other answer, because this is a chronic problem,” she added.