The municipalities of Portimão and Lagoa have made it clear that they are against the possible merger of the Barlavento Hospital in Portimão and Faro Hospital to create a single hospital in the Algarve to meet the needs of the local people.
Members of the Bloco de Esquerda (BE) political party have drawn up a motion rejecting the possibility of merging the two hospitals into one single resource and this has been backed unanimously by both the councils of Portimão and Lagoa.
The suggestion that the two hospitals might merge was first reported recently by the Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manhã but there has been no official word as to if it will take place and if it is happening there is also no information about when the merger will take place.
A statement from BE said: “The health authority of the Algarve has effectively proposed the merger of the two hospitals to the Ministry of Health. It is therefore plausible to state that if this process proceeds that there is a real possibility that services could come to an end at the Barlavento hospital and staff would have to transfer to Faro hospital instead.”
The reason that the BE political party is opposed to the merger is mainly die to the fact that the Barlavento hospital in Portimão serves the entire western Algarve and if it closes then people living in areas such as Lagos or Sagres will have to travel a considerable distance to be able to attend a hospital.
An increase in distance to the hospital would not only cost residents more in fuel costs and time but could also potentially have adverse affects on people with emergency health conditions who would be forced to travel a long distance for care.
There is also the issue of what will happen to all the staff at the Barlavento hospital as this could lead to huge job losses with people no longer being needed to fill positions as they are already filled in Faro.
The pressure on Faro hospital if every patient has to use this single hospital is also a cause for worry with those against the merger feeling that patient care could suffer with too many people using a single facility.
Finally the BE party have criticised the government for not speaking out about the rumours surrounding the merger and the party are asking for honesty and transparency when talking about the issue that is of a great concern to many living in the Algarve.