Exhausted A&E nurses in the Algarve have signed their names on a letter asking to be “relieved of responsibility for what may happen to patients”.
Addressing the letter to the superiors of the hospital in Faro, the 65 of the 72 nurses in the department say that there are simply not the “conditions” to provide safe nursing care.
It’s not just a matter of exhaustion due to the peak season during which wounded admissions to Faro soar to around 300 people per day (in addition to the demands created by the pandemic). It is also because of “deficits in nurse / patient and nurse / doctor ratios”.
The letter warns nurses will eventually make mistakes, while “wait times” for attention will be longer than they should be.
The constraints in the A&E department of Faro are usual (click here). The situation could be worse than “normal” this year. But the “excuse” given by the authorities is certainly the same.
The official mantra is that there aren’t enough nurses for everyone.
After the years of the troika where nurses emigrated en masse (indeed were positively encouraged to do so), Portugal reached a situation where it is running on empty.
According to Mariana Santos, the head of nursing at CHUA (the university hospital of the Algarve), while it is “frightening” “obviously all patients will receive attention according to their needs”.
This last statement was given in interviews with various news channels. It was categorically ransacked by Ana Rita Cavaco, president of the Order of Nurses, who insists that the service “does not have enough colleagues to take care of the lives of all those who come for nursing care. health”.
RTP news report explains how some patients’ lives are on the line for “days and days”; others are left on stretchers in the hallways for too long, while even the process of freeing people is hampered.
TSF radio says “the situation” has worried officials at Faro hospital so much that they have emailed almost all nursing graduates in the country asking them to come and work in the Algarve.
“The hiring effort has even crossed the border,” said the news channel. “The hospital administration says they have sent a request for help to the Spanish consul and the Spanish Order of Nurses, to try to find professionals who would like to work in the Algarve …”
Postal Algarve suggests, however, that there is another side to this story. According to the website, Mariana Santos’ treatment of nurses since they made public their plight has been “to threaten them indecently”. The complaint comes from Ana Rita Cavaco who claims that Ms. Santos was unhappy with the way nurses “exposed the problems and told the truth” without “respecting” the hierarchy, ie the CHUA.