Cristina Fontes checks the pulse of health centers on São Vicente 21 June 2012
Minister of Health Cristina Fontes Lima is currently visiting the island of São Vicente to take the pulse of the Health Centers there, which recently expanded their opening hours. Fontes Lima explained to A Semana Online that her trip to the island is also aimed at listening to the concerns of health professionals there and making any adjustments deemed necessary.
The cabinet minister met with locally-based health professionals for more than an hour to coordinate positions and listen to their concerns before visiting the island’s Health Centers. Cristina Fontes Lima admits that human resources, particularly with regards to nurses, are not yet sufficient to fulfill the requirements of the directive setting the new working hours for the Health Centers, and explained that the facilities will have to adapt to local realities.
“We are currently waiting for more nurses, who are, in actuality, the professionals we need most, to reinforce services. Soon we will have two new groups of recently-graduated nurses, but at the moment we’re going to work with what we have. The Centers are now open until 6:00 pm, but later we could extend this to 8:00 pm.”
Appointments and walk-ins take place throughout the entire day, with two physicians present in the morning and one in the afternoon in order to “better serve the population and free up the hospital emergency rooms for cases that really do constitute emergencies.” The Health Centers, according to Fontes Lima, will also carry out more personalized follow-up of patients. “If a tuberculosis patient, for example, misses an appointment at the Center, the service will have to go to him.”