Algarve’s nurses feel ‘betrayed’ by hospitals and Regional Health Administration
“Worse than the fear that we may feel about this virus is only the feeling that we have been betrayed by the system’s bureaucrats” said Faro’s regional head of the Portuguese Nurses Union this week (SEP).
“Nurses are at the forefront in the fight against the pandemic, often without the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in quantity and quality that should be guaranteed, with the imposition of an increase in working hours and without the rest periods that are also given to them. It should be guaranteed for them, they are concerned about their families, afraid of being a source of contagion and of becoming infected”, stated the Regional Directorate of Faro of the Union of Portuguese Nurses (SEP), ironically on World Health Day.
“They are afraid but they are there, in combat. They are there because they have a code of ethics, because they are resilient, because they know that patients and their families need them”, says the union in a statement signed by regional head Nuno Manjua.
“But they also know that the administrations that now impose 12-hour schedules on them, that do not give them the necessary rest, that only demand, demand, demand, are the same ones that ignored them and their career advancement. They are hardworking nurses who make their skills available, their physical and mental effort, their health, their responsibility to be where they need to be.”
“On this World Health Day, in which Algarve nurses are fighting on the front line in combating the biggest challenge that institutions, and themselves, have ever faced, it is important to underline that they, the nurses, did not back down, without hesitation”, the statement also reads.
“It is this fibre that, on a daily basis, the nurses demonstrate that the administrators of the Algarve Hospital and University Centre (CHUA) and the Regional Health Administration (ARS) of the Algarve lack”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) have designated the year 2020 as the year of the nurses, recognising the hard work done so far in fighting the spread of the virus on the frontline.
“The recognition is not only international, it is also national, local, in our neighbourhoods, where the whole community applauds their heroes. We’ve seen only four months of the year 2020. What we demand from CHUA and the ARS administrators, what nurses demand, is the translation of this applause in true recognition. To fulfil their commitments because worse than the fear that we may feel of this virus is only the feeling that we have been betrayed by the bureaucrats of the system”, read the statement.
At stake is the “historic agreement” that the SEP signed with the Regional Health Administration (ARS) of the Algarve on September 23rd, 2019 and which led nurses to call off a strike. Since January 2018, these professionals have been awaiting for career progressions freezes to thaw, which at the time, in the middle of the pre-election campaign, was agreed to by both parties.
When talking to press, Manjua spares no criticism. “We regret that administrations, in their decisions, do not treat nurses with the same seriousness and courage with which nurses respond whenever they are called upon to intervene, whether or not they are in a pandemic period,” he concluded.