//
you're reading...
Portugal

Portugal: health service cuts spark vigils, protests

Cuts to emergency services and health centres has been met with outrage by medical associations and the public who have staged vigils and protests to show their opposition

The most recent focus of anger was the Hospital dos Covões in the municipality of Coimbra in the centre of the country, whose emergency health centre has been closed down from eight in the evening until nine in the morning.

Professional organizations of doctors and nurses, unions and the Movement of Users of Public Services (MUSP) protested against the decision, which is part of public spending cuts adopted by the Portuguese government to comply with the demands of foreign lenders.

The ‘reorganization of health services’ is one of the objectives under the agreement reached by the Portuguese authorities with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in exchange for a ‘bailout’  in which the country committed to ‘improve efficiency’ of the public health system. The Government has also increased health service charges, which means visits to the doctor have become even more expensive in a country where  the State and the user share costs.

The discontent in Coimbra led to a night vigil over the weekend at the gates of Covões Hospital that was attended by dozens of people, many with candles. A campaign has also been launched to collect signatures calling for a parliamentary debate.

‘They are limiting access to healthcare services. The consequences are particularly serious for those living in municipalities where public transportation is scarce or nonexistent, and in many cases people are forced to travel long distances,’ said Carlos Braga, spokesman for the Movement of Users of Public Services (MUSP).

Braga recalled that cases similar to Coimbra have been reported in different parts of the country, including the capital, Lisbon, where the Hospital Curry Cabral emergency department and Alfredo da Costa Maternity ward were closed.

In mid April, the MUSP organized demonstrations against cuts to health in several cities  that were attended by thousands demanding ‘the rights of citizens’ and rejecting a policy based on costs alone

‘The situation is serious for groups such as the chronically ill, for example, who frequently need emergency health centres and this decision affects their lives,” said Braga. He also complained that, despite certain exemptions based on income and age, the increases in user charges were hindering access to health services for the less well off.

Source: EFE

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Twitter Updates

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

DATA

Anti-social Europe in numbers

WAGES SLIDE

Key facts and figures on wages across the EU

Wealth Inequality in Europe

Get the key facts and figures

RADICAL VOICES

A different take on European issues

Italy’s Healthcare Crisis

Health services are ‘close to collapse’ in Rome, Turin and Naples after years of cuts and privatisation.

550 days, 29 Workers, Zero Job Losses

How a few determined Italian women stopped their factory closing and protected their livelihoods

Filthy Rich

France's Bernard Arnault of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) empire is worth $41 billion. Check out Europe's rich list

SANTA DRAGHI’S COMING

Private banks receive half-trillion-euro gift from ECB

POPULAR FIGHTBACK

Workers and citizens stand up for themselves

FLORENCE’S BUS LUMACA

Workers are on a go-slow over privatisation

Popular resistance delivers results

Lessons from the victory against Madrid privatisation plan

FRENCH FACTORY OCCUPATION

Hundreds of workers occupied the factory of ArcelorMittal in Florange in the north of France

RSS Fight discrimination in Europe – Amnesty Int’l

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

in Italy the home is a very dangerous place to be

LABOUR RIGHTS

Follow Revolting Europe on WordPress.com

Subjects

EUROPE NEEDS A CITIZENS’ REVOLUTION

Read the statement by Lafontaine and Melenchon

The Troika in Portugal – Three Years On

A success story?

THE EURO

The Dossier

FRANCE

GERMANY

GREECE

ITALY

PORTUGAL

SPAIN