Pregnant lady’s demise causes outrage over crisis-hit Portugal well being service | Portugal

Pregnant lady’s demise causes outrage over crisis-hit Portugal well being service | Portugal

The demise of a pregnant lady who couldn’t obtain remedy in Lisbon’s important hospital due to a scarcity of capability has been met with outrage in Portugal, the place a months-long well being disaster has shut emergency companies throughout the nation and put maternity care beneath excessive strain.

The 34-year-old lady was admitted to Lisbon’s Santa Maria hospital on 23 August with respiratory issues and hypertension. Owing to a scarcity of area within the neonatal service, she was transferred to a different hospital, however she died after a coronary heart assault within the ambulance.

Her child, born at 30 weeks weighing 772g (1lb 11oz), survived.

The well being minister, Marta Temido, in workplace since 2018 and all through the Covid pandemic, resigned this week after the case got here to mild. She mentioned in a brief assertion despatched to the Guardian that she “not had situations to remain in workplace”. The prime minister, António Costa, mentioned the lady’s demise was “the final straw” for Temido.

Pregnant lady’s demise causes outrage over crisis-hit Portugal well being service | Portugal
Marta Temido mentioned she ‘not had situations to remain in workplace’. {Photograph}: Julien Warnand/EPA

Santa Maria hospital mentioned the affected person had been stabilised, and it described transfers between regional hospitals as a “frequent process”. It advised CNN that the lady’s demise was “neither foreseeable nor anticipated on this scenario”.

An investigation has been opened. The federal government’s basic inspection of well being actions (IGAS) can also be analyzing the demise of a child on 9 June in Caldas da Rainha, north of Lisbon, after there have been no obstetricians to help the mom when she went into labour. On 22 August one other pregnant lady needed to be transferred twice between hospitals, travelling a complete of 95 miles (150km) whereas in labour.

Newspaper entrance pages have known as Portugal’s previously extremely rated nationwide well being service (SNS) the “nationwide illness service” and the well being ministry the “ministry of faux” after shutdowns left 1000’s with out entry to care within the nearly free public well being system.

The disaster is a results of decades-long structural issues together with low wages, outdated tools and inefficient paperwork, mentioned Dr Gustavo Tato Borges, the president of the Nationwide Affiliation of Public Well being Medical doctors.

Salaries haven’t modified since 2009. A specialist doctor has a month-to-month beginning wage of €1,853 (£1,603) and a nurse €1,200. “There isn’t any lack of medical doctors to fulfil the wants of the SNS, however relatively a scarcity of medical doctors keen to topic themselves to working within the SNS,” Borges mentioned. “The SNS doesn’t have the capability to draw medical doctors and guarantee they keep for a very long time.”

Whereas the variety of medical doctors in Portugal has nearly doubled within the final 20 years, nearly half work within the personal sector. It’s estimated {that a} third of the inhabitants have medical health insurance, an nearly twofold enhance within the final 16 years, as ready occasions have elevated within the public well being system.

Little one mortality is at its highest price since 2018 and the third highest within the final decade. Portugal has an extra mortality price of 23.9%, 4 occasions above the EU common.

The well being ministry has introduced a “deep” investigation into the demise price.

Earlier than resigning, Temido had introduced 1,600 vacancies for specialist medical doctors in areas together with gynaecology, obstetrics and public well being, and accepted a brand new mannequin for the SNS, with a distinct administration construction, extra decision-making autonomy for hospitals, and measures to extend productiveness.

Nonetheless, healthcare employees say the brand new mannequin, in addition to the minister’s resignation, fall wanting fixing the structural points chipping away on the public well being system.

Costa has mentioned there can be no change in well being insurance policies, saying Temido’s substitute can be purely a change in “character, vitality or fashion”.

“Those that need a change in insurance policies should take down the federal government,” the prime minister mentioned on Tuesday.