Saturday, September 24

The Portuguese Minister of Health resigns after months of chaos in the ER

  • Marta Temido, a strong woman in the socialist government, has been on the tightrope for months due to personnel problems in Portuguese hospitals

The Minister of Health of Portugal, Feared Marta, has presented his resignation this Tuesday morning after several months on the tightrope. pressure from trade unions doctors has finally taken effect after several meetings in which the minister was unable to respond to her demands, including resolving the lack of personnel in the emergency services of dozens of hospitals, mainly in the area of ​​obstetrics. A shortage of staff that has forced patients to be diverted to other hospitals, including a pregnant woman who died last week shortly after going to a Lisbon hospital where there were no places available. Months earlier, another pregnant woman lost her baby after going to an emergency room that was closed.

The fight between Feared and the unions has been getting worse since the end of last year, when the pandemic began to give a truce in hospitals. It was at that moment when the sanitaryexhausted after months of fighting the covid-19 and with hundreds of overtime hours behind them, they decided to stand up to a situation they consider unsustainable. The Portuguese Executive has tried to respond to the demands of doctors, with the improvement of remuneration for overtime and with the approval of a new statute of the National Health Service (SNS), which tries to improve coordination between hospitals and which gives greater autonomy to the centers to hire staff.

The changes approved by the Government, however, have not been enough to keep Feared in office, although the Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, has not yet named a replacement and everything indicates that it will not be a quick succession. In a statement issued this morning, Costa thanked the work carried out by the until now head of Health, who took office in 2018, especially “in the exceptional period of combating the coronavirus pandemic.” coronavirus”. Feared has been one of the most visible heads of the socialist government during the pandemic and one of the strong people in her team, where she even came to sound like a possible successor to the prime minister despite having been affiliated with the Party for just a year. Socialist.

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Opposition and union criticism

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Both the doctors’ unions and the representatives of the Order of Doctors and Nurses have reacted positively to the resignation of Feared, whom they accuse of not having known how to respond to the serious problems that have plagued the Portuguese health. “The Minister of Health lived in a different reality when she said that there was no lack of doctors,” the president of the Independent Union of Doctors, Jorge Roque da Cunha, told CNN Portugal. Something that has been supported by the president of the Order of Physicians, Miguel Guimarães, also on the same channel. “The minister has not been able to find solutions to the very serious problems that currently exist in the SNS”, he stated.

The opposition has also not been slow to react to the resignation and has taken the opportunity to charge against the Costa Government, which has a comfortable absolute majority in Parliament since the elections last January. “A mother had to die for the minister to resign. This resignation represents the failure of the socialist government’s health policy, marked by arrogance and irresponsibility”, he assured. Miguel Pinto Light, vice president of the main opposition party, the conservative PSD. For his part, the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has assured in a statement that he is awaiting the formal request for resignation and receiving the proposal of Feared’s successor in office.

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