According to PSD parliamentarian Cristóvão Norte, the government will channel 950 million euros to new hospitals in the centre of the country this legislature, meaning that none of them will be built in the Algarve. Mr. Norte says that this is yet another “flagrant abandonment of the Algarve for no good reason”.
A preliminary analysis of the State Budget, set up this year, leaves no room for doubt that this is the case. The government plans to move forward with the Integrated Pediatric Hospital (CHU São João), Lisbon Western Hospital, Seixal Hospital, Sintra Hospital, Alentejo Central Hospital, and Madeira Hospital over the next four years.
The total investment for these six new infrastructures is 950 million euros, and not a cent will be given to the Algarve.
“In April 2019, the government outlined these hospitals in the stability and investment plan, which is an investment commitment to be made to Brussels. Thus, this is an absolutely flagrant abandonment of the Algarve, which budget after budget is disregarded without reason based on the disregard of all the reports that indicate lowering of care standards in the region”, he lamented.
The studies he references “underline the importance of building a new modern university hospital capable of attracting doctors and fixing a set of chronic bottlenecks, and the tragic haemorrhage that pushes people who have money to the private side, and leaves those who do not have it behind in the face of the cruel inhumanity that is the National Health Service in the Algarve”, he adds.
According to his preliminary analysis of next year’s State Budget, Mr. Norte predicts that another Algarve problem will remain unresolved also. “Three months ago, the concessionaire who was to upgrade the EN125 announced that due to state failures, it would terminate the contract. And in fact, a budget of 80 million euros was entered in the budget. Now the point that arises is another. There is money to compensate the private concessionaires, now, it is important to know if there is money to do the work that really matters to people” he argues.
“Because once the private concessionaire terminates the contract, the work returns to the state.”
In January 2017, the then Secretary of State for Infrastructure Guilherme d’Oliveira Martins, and the Minister of Planning and Infrastructure Pedro Marques were in Tavira, where they introduced alongside Jorge Botelho, then president of the Intermunicipal Community of the Algarve (AMAL-CI), a plan worth 23 million euros for priority interventions aimed at “giving back the title of National to Highway 125”, especially between Olhão and Vila Real de Santo António. “They said that by 2020 everything would be done. So far, there is no work”, he highlights. Mr. Norte’s point here appears to be that if this money hasn’t been given to any private concessionaires, then why is it simply staying in the pot, instead of being used to fix the current issues that are facing the region.