Chaos in health centers – Portugal

About 25% of family doctors’ time is now devoted to the pandemic. The result: there are chronically decompensated patients, delayed screenings and more advanced cancers with less prospect of a cure.

In the last year, Mónica Fonseca spent at least 16 weeks working in the so-called Areas Dedicated to Respiratory Patients (ADR) – spaces where suspicions of covid-19 are evaluated. Which means that, during those four months, there were several consultations that he did not attend, chronic patients that he did not monitor and illnesses that remained undetected. “Whenever a health professional leaves, the others have to replace him, but the answer is not the same because each one has a list of users to follow”, says the specialist in General and Family Medicine. Currently, he sees around 80 patients a week, answers an average of 50 emails and makes at least 25 calls to people under surveillance – work that is often left over for the night, already at home.

At the Sofia Abecassis Family Health Unit, in Lisbon, there are 5 doctors, 4 nurses and 2 administrative staff. But, at the moment, it only works daily with 2 nurses (there are two allocated to vaccination) and at least one doctor is also always away. “This is stifling Primary Health Care. We are the patient’s entrance door and when that door is ajar, many people do not have access to health care”, warns the also leader of the Southern Regional Council of the Medical Association.

On Friday the 18th, when he spoke with the SATURDAY, the Health Centers Group alone to which it belongs (ACES Lisboa Central) already had more than 1,100 people under surveillance. “We are not even able to resume what we were doing, and with the increase in cases, it is possible that our activity becomes more compromised”, he admits.

Source: SÁBADO by

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