Last year, Mónica Fonseca spent at least 16 weeks working in so-called designated respiratory areas (ADRs) – places where suspected coronavirus infection is assessed. Which means that during those four months, there were several consultations he didn’t attend, chronic patients he didn’t spot, and illnesses that remained undetected. “When one health professional leaves, others have to replace him, but the answer is not the same because everyone has a user list to follow,” says the specialist in general and family medicine. Currently, he receives about 80 patients a week, answers an average of 50 emails and makes at least 25 calls to people under observation — work often left overnight, already at home.
In the Family Health Unit of Sofia-Abekasis, in Lisbon, there are 5 doctors, 4 nurses and 2 administrative staff. But, at the moment, he only works with two nurses (there are two dedicated to vaccinating) and at least one doctor is always away. “This is stifling primary health care. We are the patient’s entrance door and when that door is open, not many people have access to health care,” warns the president of the Southern Regional Council of the Medical Syndicate.
On Friday the 18th, when he spoke with Saturday
, the group of health centers to which it belongs (ACES Lisboa Central) alone already has more than 1,100 people under observation. “We are not even able to resume what we were doing, and with the increase in cases, it is possible that our business will become more vulnerable,” he admits.