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Inquiry reveals that Portuguese hospitals were ‘far from rupture’ throughout pandemic

46hospital inquiryThe occupancy rates of wards (48.8%) and intensive care units (31.6%) for patients with COVID-19 indicate that hospitals throughout the country were “far from rupture”, reveals a survey by the Portuguese Society of Internal Medicine released today.

The Portuguese Society of Internal Medicine (SPMI) carried out a survey of 85 directors of Internal Medicine services at “COVID hospitals” to assess the involvement of internists in the treatment of those infected with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the activity carried out with patients not infected.

By April 29, 63 responses were obtained from “COVID hospitals”, which corresponds to 74% of the total, SPMI said in a statement. The conclusions point out that “in hospitals the capacity of available COVID infirmary beds was 1,963, with an occupancy rate of 48.8%”.

“There were also 620 intensive care beds for COVID patients, with an occupancy rate of 31.6%” being used, says the study, according to which specialists and interns with specific training in Internal Medicine integrated all COVID Inpatient Units of hospitals taken into account from throughout the country.

In 65% of the wards dedicated to these patients, Internal Medicine specialists called upon their peers in other specialities to work together, while in 35% of the wards the running of COVID-19 responses was fully ensured by internal medicine specialists, the SPMI said.

The Internal Medicine Services provided treatment to 3,157 patients who did not have Covid-19 at the same time as the height of the pandemic. “These results demonstrate the undeniable advantages of having a strong SNS [National Health Service], with the capacity to respond to an unexpected event, with the magnitude of this pandemic”, says the president of SPMI, João Araújo Correia, in a statement. For him, “the occupancy rates of the COVID wards (48.8%) or of the COVID Intensive Care (31.6%), demonstrate” that thankfully they were “very far from the rupture”.

“We are convinced that the fact that Portugal has Internal Medicine as a popular specialty of the Health System (14% of the total of hospital specialists) contributed to having a fast, organized and competent response”, concluded João Araújo Correia.