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Newly hired doctors could help solve “perfect storm” of Neonatology urgencies in Algarve hospitals

neonatology doctorTwo of the 18 new doctors coming to Algarve hospitals could help to solve the recent difficulties experienced in filling in the quotas at the Intensive Care and Neonatal Service of the Algarve University Hospital Center (CHUA), as one of those placed is a specialist paediatrician, and another is a paediatric surgeon.

Paulo Morgado, president of the Algarve Regional Health Administration, expressed his belief that the new clinicians “should help solve the issue”. However, the official points out that “neonatology wards across the country are currently a national drama. Not all paediatricians are skilled enough or have sufficient experience to work in neonatology, there needs to be a specific vocational path for it. This makes it even more difficult to fill these jobs as there are fewer specialists who have the skills for this work.”

According to Morgado, the difficulties that CHUA has had in recent quotas, which have caused great panic amongst pregnant women in the Algarve in the last few weeks, is due to an “almost perfect storm.

Two of the doctors had been suffering with serious health problems, one of whom was in charge of the service. There were also two situations of cancer diagnoses of close family members of two other doctors, which caused them to take time off. Moreover, another two doctors left on maternity leave.

According to a source from CHUA, so far, the quotas for treatment have been more successfully filled, and are also guaranteed to improve in the coming weeks while efforts are continuing to resolve the issue. “The service has been making an invaluable effort to keep it running and we are trying, with the help of other institutions, to fill in the gaps with service providers and other doctors, but it is not easy to find neonatologists in Portugal,” Morgado explains.

Furthermore, last Friday Marta Temido, Minister of Health, addressed the shortage of doctors in the Algarve. She pointed to the possibility of recruiting professionals abroad, and the minister said that the “attempt to hire additional doctors through service provision is being made, we do not exclude the possibility of resorting to the collaboration of private entities”.

“The prime objective is to ensure that services are available,” she concluded.