Nine hours in the emergency room at Abrantes hospital on the 7th of February and an hour of waiting for a visit the next day, paradoxically, made me feel how important it is not to let our National Health Service (SNS) fall.
Accustomed to hearing bad things about this hospital, I would take my father there in post-covid worsening conditions. I found an emergency room full of patients, almost all elderly people, stretchers and wheelchairs along the corridor, two exhausted female doctors (speakers of Portuguese from Brazil and “portunhol” from overseas). I witnessed, however, the care with which they treated patients and their families even in those conditions.
Everyone, but even all the professionals I came across (admissions administrators, security guards who helped in the most varied ways while ensuring compliance with the rules, medical staff, nurses, assistants) were of an unusual professionalism and good disposition. The assertiveness and competence of a “guardian angel”, in the form of a doctor, saved my father that night. A doctor who researched the non-obvious assumed the need for a CT scan. Examination done immediately, but which required a three-hour wait for a report that the hospital could not make.
Was everything perfect? It was not. But everything lined up in a right direction that made me experience an unusual harmony and humanity. No “pimples”, no wedges! Was it chance? Perhaps not, possibly there is a motivating team at the head of that hospital, or the interior of Portugal has not yet become dehumanized!
A few years ago, my mother spent months in the hepatobiliary department at Hospital Curry Cabral, an SNS service where teams do the best there is in the world. I’ve lived in northern Europe where supposedly everything is perfect, maybe that’s why I have more legitimacy to shout out loud that I’m still very proud of my country’s SNS.
António Barreto wrote in PÚBLICO that we have a “strong government in a weak state”, and the idea of how the “private” side of the state suits so well. I work at a public research and services institute (services vital to national security and therefore must belong to the State), I know very well what António Barreto is talking about when he says that “more capable technicians and researchers (…), forced to follow absurd rules, they are not motivated and they are not attracted by the State”. The schizophrenia of the objectives, impoverished facilities, lack of equipment renovation, a management that is not very humanizing, an evaluation system that does not reward excellence, all factors that contribute to the emptying of the State.
Please, gentlemen politicians, do not empty the State, because democracy needs it. Please don’t let SNS die.
The author writes according to the new spelling agreement