Loures Hospital Users Protest Setback in Pediatric Emergency Care

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About 50 people gathered today near the Beatriz Ângelo Hospital in Loures to protest against the closure of the pediatric emergency room at night and on weekends, which they say is a step backward for local health.

Since Wednesday, the pediatric emergency room at the hospital has only been open from Monday to Friday, between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm.

Fernanda Santos, of the Loures Users’ Commission, which organized the protest, fears the closure is permanent and says it is a “total setback” for 2011, the year before the Beatriz Ângelo Hospital (HBA) opened.

“When this hospital was built, we had great hopes that it would solve the situation of the emergency room, of having to go to Lisbon,” he said, but says that the unit “has always had problems,” with “long waiting times” and “a lack of professionals.

The user, who is also a deputy for the CDU in Loures City Council, estimates that 65 thousand people in the municipality don’t have a family doctor, so many of them use this hospital’s emergency room.

Anabela Pinto, who lives in Pontinha (Odivelas), is afraid because “there could be very serious [health] problems” among the young people who would be treated at the Loures hospital, but who will have to travel to the Lisbon units, foreseeing that they will be “overloaded”.

Read also: Évora: Patient found dead after waiting for hours in emergency room. Health professionals thought she had fallen asleep

The demonstration was attended by the mayor of Sobral de Monte Agraço, one of the four municipalities served by the HBA, along with Loures, Odivelas and Mafra.

“If Sobral de Monte Agraço is not close to Loures (…), if we go to the center of Lisbon, it is even more complicated,” said José Alberto Quintino (CDU).

The mayors of the municipalities served by the Loures hospital will meet with the Minister of Health on Tuesday, with the communist mayor wanting to understand “what can be done to reverse the situation, how long it will last and what the options are while it is closed” to “exert maximum pressure to reverse it as soon as possible.

At the entrance of the hospital unit, which has also closed the obstetric emergency room in rotation with other hospitals in Lisbon, several local and popular politicians held placards defending the SNS, stating, among other things, that “it belongs to everyone” and that “health is a right”.

The Minister of Health, Manuel Pizarro, has already announced that the plan for the regular operation of pediatrics in the Lisbon metropolitan area will be announced next week.

On Wednesday, 11 team leaders of the General Emergency Service of the unit resigned their positions, justifying, in a resignation letter seen by Lusa, that the hospital was experiencing “the worst moments in its history” due to “the lack of human resources”.

Speaking to RTP, the president of the board of directors of the HBA asked for an exceptional regime to facilitate the recruitment, estimating that about 60 doctors are needed, recalling that since December, six pediatricians have left, but it has been possible to recruit only three on a contractual basis.

On Saturdays and Sundays, between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., the São Francisco Xavier, Santa Maria and Dona Estefania hospitals will provide assistance to children and adolescents with urgent illnesses who come from the Beatriz Ângelo Hospital reference area, while during the night, the service will be provided by the last two units.

Source: Sapo https://24.sapo.pt/atualidade/artigos/utentes-do-hospital-de-loures-em-protesto-contra-retrocesso-na-urgencia-pediatrica

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