Sunday, March 7

The hiring of foreign nurses in Portugal suspended


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In the midst of the pandemic and with Portugal’s proportional figures higher than those of Spain, war has broken out between the nursing professionals and the socialist government. The confrontation has reached the courts and, for the moment, the group of hospital workers is taking advantage because the Supreme Administrative Court agrees with them, since their request for the prohibition of hiring foreign nurses to be processed has been accepted. relieve pressure on health centers.

So for now, the idea of ​​the cabinet of Antonio Costa resorting to other countries to minimize the burden suffered by this group in cities such as Lisbon or Porto remains parked until the appeal is resolved against the precautionary measure.

The controversy widens more and more since, in parallel, the number of deaths only by a relative respite. The College of Nurses claims that it only seeks to protect its associates, but if the ban is prolonged, will more people die from lack of care?

Portuguese hospitals are only beginning to see their numbers of patients admitted in recent days reduced, but the tension remains latent and is far from a supposed ‘normality’.

It so happens that the shortage of nurses in the public network of the neighboring country has to do with the high rate of emigration in search of better wages in other countries. In fact, it can be easily verified due to the transit of professionals of this type who cross the border with Galicia every morning from their homes in the north of Portugal.

Possibility of hiring

In order for the State to be able to rehire, a resolution from the presidency of the Council of Ministers would be necessary to explain the caliber of damage that the suspension may cause. The actions of the College of Nurses began as soon as it was approved the possibility of hiring last January 28 And since then, employees have spared no criticism of the government after four straight years of frozen public investment.

Furthermore, the decree that was in force established that the National Health System could use nurses without being able to demonstrate their level of competence.

In fact, the president of the College, Ana Rita Cavaco, It already warned that the hospitals did not have at their disposal sufficient mechanisms to certify the training of those who arrived. Now a period of 15 days is opened in which the Government has to pronounce on the matter and specify the terms of a new claim. So the State Legal Services are proceeding with the exhaustive assessment.

And all when some French nurses have just arrived in Lisbon, in application of the order requested by the Portuguese Government. To top it all, a delegation from Luxembourg is expected to disembark in the next few months to be located at the Évora Hospital.

The most serious antecedents of all this uncomfortable situation that has exploded must be sought in the strike of the nurses of late 2018 operating room.

That stop caused havoc and made things difficult for many patients. Also then the tension could be cut and the president of the College of Physicians, Miguel Guimaraes, He testified to this with statements that fell like a jug of cold water in the Healthcare and, above all, among the affected population: “I cannot guarantee that there will be no deaths from this strike.”

There was silence, broken by himself by adding: “What I can say is that seriously ill patients are being treated. The Ministry of Health has legal mechanisms to resolve the most complex situations, even the cases of those who have been left out of the minimum services. And he continued: «Several patients have already been transferred from the Hospital de Santa María to the Hospital of Sao José or the Hospital of Western Lisbon. But, in the middle of the strike, I know that some patients are being harmed ».

Many scheduled surgeries

According to Guimaraes, people in critical condition were arriving little by little at the National Health Service centers with the capacity to offer them treatment. “There is also a great concern with children, because many of the scheduled surgeries that fail can cause them to miss the school year,” he explained.

In any case, he admitted that long waiting lists for operations they have become excessively long, which only accumulates arrears.

The passage of time has proved Guimaraes right, who sowed concern by saying: “A patient who has priority today can quickly go to priority three as situations evolve and priorities change to others.” In his opinion, it was not operative to ask doctors to enter the operating rooms without the help of nurses: “This is not feasible, it does not make sense because health professionals work as a team in order to achieve the well-being of the patient.”

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