Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Portuguese Association of Allied Health Technicians (APTAS)
Posted on May 10, 2022
Since that fateful year of 2008, when a blind law, economic only, removed qualified professionals from the SNS, who had to undergo specific training to be able to perform their very important and responsible role, as they had human life under their care.
From the same year onwards, anyone applying for an Operational Assistant (AO) will only need to meet the minimum requirements required by law, regarding physical strength or compulsory education, depending on age at birth. More is needed to be able to enter the SNS, and then specialists are allocated to different services, according to their needs, with the vast majority of them going through hospitalizations and emergencies, where there is a shortage of staff.
The fact that these services operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, combined with the hard work of the profession, with alternating shifts, outside of family life, means that many of these AO’s go beyond what is permitted by law. They work 12-16 hours in a row, which can happen two to three times a week, and in one week they reach the stipulated number of hours for half a month of work, for low monetary compensation (minimum wage).
And with the aggravating factor, in many cases these hours are not paid to them, accumulating in a bank of hours. The same means that they take a day off whenever possible, which can happen the following month, or two, or three, or more after that, and it often depends on the wishes of their superiors. However, this removes the interest in staying in these places and at the first opportunity they change jobs.
However, it is necessary to clearly disclose what these professionals do in their daily lives, in order to better understand their importance in the SNS. This is without forgetting the social sector, because, in this case, the toil of the profession is more constant, it even replaces the nurse, especially on weekends, because in the great majority of homes the nurse is not on time, since her existence is only a fantasy.
These professionals are the true foundations of any organization. They are practically responsible for managing the replacement of materials needed to provide health care. They also have a function – and this is even more important – to provide care to users, including eating meals and aiding in daily hygiene, eliminating physiological needs, especially to those who are no longer able to do it themselves, or helping to administer medicines, because although This process is the responsibility of the nurses, however it is often taken with meals.
They also provide valuable assistance to their superiors in the hierarchy, regarding nursing care, for example, in treating wounds and whenever additional support is needed.
In short, these are some of the tasks that AO performs, especially those who develop their professional activity in services that directly support users/patients. Much more can still be said about their jobs.
In a National Health Service that wants to be more efficient, effective and, above all, humane in nature, the specific training of these professionals has not been necessary at all – the same training that the state provides at the school and vocational levels – bearing in mind that the objective It is to train people with more knowledge, more willing and open to acquiring other skills, to become an asset to organizations.
If we look at the Portuguese panorama, where nosocomial infections are responsible for a large part of the additional expenditure in health, it is not critical to identify strategies to combat this pest. And only with trained professionals, who know how to act to avoid them, can we reduce these costs, which are killing people in hospitals every day.
This is the vision of APTAS – the Portuguese Association of Allied Health Technicians, which considers the qualification of these professionals to be very fundamental, who have already provided more than enough evidence that they are worthy of a professional career, as Allied Health Technicians.
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