Portuguese toilets are planted after the pandemic

  • The Portuguese Government faces strikes by doctors and nurses in full negotiation for the budgets

  • About a hundred professionals have resigned to denounce the lack of personnel and medical supplies

The Portuguese toilets they have said enough. After more than a year and a half of pandemic, in which the health services have been at the limit, they have decided to stand up and challenge the Portuguese government, which is in full negotiation for the budgets with the left-wing parties. Accounts that at the moment do not satisfy their former parliamentary partners and that health professionals consider insufficient. The lack from human Resources, encouraged by low wages and the media shortage, have put the health workers on the warpath, who have already announced strikes for the next month of November.

The main union representatives denounce the aging of the templates, associated with the flight of young professionals abroad or to the private sector. “We need a salary update. Since the last modification, doctors have lost 31% of their purchasing power, between inflation and taxes. This is very unattractive to young people & rdquor ;, assures the president of the Independent Union of Physicians, Jorge Roque. The latest report published by the OECD before the pandemic places Portugal as one of the few countries in which there has been a salary reduction in recent years.

Job search outside the country has also occurred among the nurses. The number of requests to emigrate abroad reached its maximum in 2019, with an increase of 60% over the previous year, according to the Order of Nurses. Its president, Ana Rita Cavaco, assures that this escape is due to the absence of competitions to access the specialist position, to the low wages and the ratio of nurses per 1,000 inhabitants, which is situated below the OECD average. “The unions have understood that it is time to call the strike, now that there is a relief from the restrictions. And they have done very well & rdquor ;, points out Cavaco.

Block resignations

The discontent of the healthcare sector has been evidenced in recent weeks with the resignation en bloc almost a hundred professionals from various hospitals in the country. The most significant protest has taken place in the hospital of Setúbal, with the request to leave 88 doctors, including the clinical director, Nuno Fachada. “There are many days when you cannot provide services in the emergency room and in other areas such as oncology or ophthalmology,” explains Fachada, who directly points to the Government as responsible for the lack of staff. “We have tried to adapt the resources to the maximum, but the hospital administration is very limited in terms of contracting and intervention power,” he regrets.

The Ministry of Health has announced new hires to fill the deficiencies of the center, in an attempt to calm down that, however, does not satisfy the health workers. The Executive maintains that the reinforcements of the National Health System (SNS) they must be carried out on a sustained basis to ensure their viability, something that unions see as an excuse. “This year’s budgets include items to failed companies such as the airline TAP, which absorbs hundreds of millions of euros from the public coffers & rdquor ;, criticizes the president of the Order of Nurses.

Permanent workers

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Another initiative of the Government has been the approval this week of a new statute of the National system of health, which includes measures to increase the number of workers with full dedication to the public service and who until now also carried out activities in the private sector. It remains to be seen what incentives will be set in terms of salary and hours to convince workers, since in most cases membership is not mandatory.

With these measures, the Executive of António Costa try to convince the left parties to approve the accounts for next year and thus avoid a political crisis in the country, which would lead to a early calling of elections. For now, neither the Left Block (BE) neither him Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) They have shown their intention to approve the budgets, and pressure from the health sector will foreseeably force the government to make further concessions.


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