Portuguese birth clinics are shutting down
Portugal is currently facing a severe shortage of obstetricians and midwives in public hospitals, leading to the closure of some delivery wards in the country.
This is a concerning issue for many women in Portugal, as it means that they have to travel far to give birth. The shortage of doctors and midwives has led to the closure of delivery wards in multiple Portuguese hospitals and has resulted in tragic deaths.
Professor Diogo Ayres de Campos, who heads a taskforce to find solutions for women affected by this shortage, believes that there is currently no other alternative than to close certain delivery wards in the short term. According to Professor Ayres de Campos, "Gynecology and neonatology have been newly organized in July and August and this affects the concentration of resources, and some hospitals cannot keep their gynecological emergency rooms and delivery blocks open."
This shortage of doctors and midwives has led to several tragic deaths. During the summer months, two babies and one pregnant woman died when they had to be transferred to a hospital further away. These deaths are currently being investigated and the Minister of Health has resigned.
Photo Camilo Jimenez on Unsplash
To address this crisis, Professor Ayres de Campos believes that the National Health Service, particularly in the south of Portugal, needs to be reinforced with 200 to 250 specialist doctors in obstetrics and gynecology. However, he also notes that the shortage of doctors cannot be held solely responsible for the rise in maternal mortality rates in Portugal. He explains that this increase has more to do with the fact that women from poor countries with poor health systems are coming to Portugal to give birth, as well as more women with pre-existing health conditions choosing to become pregnant.
The taskforce headed by Professor Ayres de Campos is working on finding solutions to this crisis, and the government must take immediate action to address the shortage of obstetricians and midwives in public hospitals. It is essential to ensure that women have access to safe and adequate health care during childbirth, and the closure of delivery wards should not be the only solution. Long-term solutions, such as increasing the number of doctors and midwives, should be implemented to ensure that women in Portugal have access to safe and adequate healthcare during childbirth.
The shortage of obstetricians and midwives in public hospitals in Portugal is a concerning issue that is affecting the healthcare of women in the country. The closure of delivery wards and tragic deaths are a result of this shortage and immediate action must be taken to address this crisis. The government, healthcare organizations, and the taskforce headed by Professor Ayres de Campos must work together to find long-term solutions to ensure that women in Portugal have access to safe and adequate healthcare during childbirth.