Archive for July, 2019

Summer as we know it has yet to arrive

Sunday, July 7th, 2019

It is true that summer as we knew is not the same so far this year.. And if in July you would expect warmer days, clear skies and no precipitation, weather forecasts show that will not be so in the coming days.

As of Tuesday 9th, however, the maximum temperatures will increase, between two to five degrees, from north to south, reaching 37 degrees in some areas of the country. But the weather will remain damp. An unusual scenario for this time of year, stresses the meteorologist of the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA) Ricardo Tavares, DN.

According to the IPMA forecasts, this weekend will still be a shower in some localities and cloudy in the coast of mainland Portugal. A scenario that may last until Monday, due to a “depression that will pass through the continent” on this day.

Until then, maximum temperatures should remain mild, ranging from 22 (Aveiro) to 30 (Bragança), and the minimum between 14 (Viseu) and 17 in almost all regions of mainland Portugal. On the islands, the maximum temperature will vary between 24 and 27 degrees, with precipitation recorded.

However, it is from Wednesday that will feel the heat throughout the continental region, with the maximum reaching 37 degrees in areas such as Castelo Branco and Santarém. Lisbon will reach 30 degrees, Porto at 29, Évora at 36 and Faro at 29. In the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, it should not exceed 26 degrees.

According to meteorologist Ricardo Tavares, these temperatures are “normal” for the height of the year, but not the humidity that has been felt in recent weeks and that should be prolonged in the next.

The municipalities of Mogadouro, in the district of Bragança, and Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, in Guarda, present this Saturday a maximum risk of fire, according to the IPMA. There are also more than 50 municipalities in the districts of Faro, Santarém, Portalegre, Castelo Branco, Leiria, Viseu, Vila Real and Bragança at very high risk of fire.

The fire risk determined by the IPMA has five levels, ranging from reduced to maximum, being the third highest level. Calculations for this risk are obtained from air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and amount of precipitation in the last 24 hours.

Mainland Portugal and the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores also have a very high risk of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation during this weekend. Due to the very high risk of exposure to UV radiation throughout the country, the IPMA recommends the use of sunglasses with UV filter, hat, t-shirt, sun umbrella, sunscreen and prevent children from sun exposure.

 

Meeting of the National Commission for Civil Protection

Friday, July 5th, 2019

The National Commission for Civil Protection (CNPC), chaired by the Secretary of State for Civil Protection, José Artur Neves, met yesterday, July 4, 2019, at the headquarters of the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC).

The results of the meeting include the approval of a set of Civil Protection Emergency Plans, of different levels and typologies, which aim to contribute to a better preparation in the response to major accidents and disasters.

Within the scope of the National Strategy for Preventive Civil Protection (ENPCP), approved by the Council of Ministers on October 31, 2017, and with the aim of emphasizing the preventive aspect of civil protection as a determining factor for the constitution of a more resilient society, the regulation of the Prize for Recognition of Good Practices in Resilience Promotion was also approved, aiming to highlight the work carried out by the Municipalities and / or Parishes in this area.

In accordance with the operational objectives of ENPCP and considering the publication of Decree-Law no. 2/2019, of January 11, establishing the National System of Monitoring and Communication of Risk, Special Alert and Notice to the Population, were also approved two guiding Standards i) for the installation of standardized signs for the risk of tsunami and rupture of dams and ii) for the operation of warning systems to the population by sound signals, resulting from the work developed by ANEPC, in articulation with the Portuguese Agency Environment and the Directorate-General of the Maritime Authority.

The National Civil Protection Commission also took note of the update of the National Risk Assessment, prepared in accordance with the guidelines issued by the European Commission and in line with that recommended by Decision 1313/2013 / EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 of December 2013, which is assumed as a strategic document for risk management at the national level, contributing to the planning and organization of responses to major accidents and disasters. This Assessment takes into account the effects of climate change on risks.

The form for post-earthquake damage assessment in current buildings was also presented, which resulted from the joint effort of several entities that collaborated with ANEPC in the framework of the activities of the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

Secretary of State for Internal Administration and President Safe Communities Portugal sign protocol

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

The importance of the safety of the foreign community and overseas tourists was highlighted by the Minister for Internal Administration Eduardo Cabrita, during the presentation of the “Safe Summer” program held at the Regional Tourism Algarve (RTA) Faro Headquarters on 22nd June.

To reinforce this message, the Secretary of State for Internal Administration Isabel Oneto gave an overview of the Local Security Contracts (CLS) and highlighted the important work undertaken by Safe Communities Portugal (SCP) as part of this program. She stressed the importance of the community and the security forces working together in maintaining the Algarve as a safe destination.

A protocol was then signed by the Secretary of State and David Thomas President SCP outlining new initiatives regarding security in the Algarve which the two parties will develop over the next 12 months.

Following on from last year, Safe Communities has proposed a number of new initiatives which were agreed by the Ministry and incorporated into the new protocol.

These will include projects such as the development of crime prevention leaflets in additional languages to reach out to tourists through tourist information centres throughout the region. This will be reinforced by videos and several displays such as those held at Mar shopping and Faro Airport earlier.

There will also be a project to encourage people to report suspicious activities and crime as well as a project involve students understanding the work of the police.

David Thomas President of Safe Communities Portugal stated “I am very pleased to be able to sign this protocol at such an important event. We have consistently stressed the importance of everyone working together not only to help reduce crime, but also to convey important messages concerning to the prevention and protection of the population against rural fires as mentioned by the Minister”.

He added “We have been able to reflect the views of the foreign community to Government both concerning civil protection and security matters and it is encouraging that these views have been heard and acted upon, in developing projects that benefit both residents and tourists alike”.

Portugal: Five doctors among 11 detainees in investigation into health fraud

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

Eleven people, including five doctors and one pharmacy owner, were detained on Tuesday 2nd July by the Polícia Judiciária force, as part of a major operation launched early in the morning across the country, the PJ has revealed.

In a statement, the PJ said that the operation involved searches in doctors’ surgeries and health units, residences and other premises, and the fulfillment of arrest warrants related to “facts that may constitute … the crimes of corruption, serious fraud, documents forgery and criminal association.”

The suspected potential damages caused to the National Health Service (SNS), according to the PJ, is estimated at €1 million.

“At issue are several acts, consisting of the issuing of manual prescriptions, using the existing exceptions … which allow them to be 100% subsidised by the SNS, in addition to digital revenues, of very high values and with numerous units prescribed,” the PJ said.

According to the same statement, “drug prescription scenarios were created, not in line with the applicable legislation, which may imply the acceptance of advantages in forms liable to criminal responsibility, with the Portuguese state damaged, for the subsidising of medicines being misallocated.”

The operation was carried out by the PJ’s National Anti-Corruption Unit (UNCC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, as part of a drive to combat fraud to the SNS.

A total of 110 PJ inspectors were involved, along with various members of staff from the ministry and the organisation “Infarmed”, the medicines regulator. A total of 30 search warrants and 11 arrest warrants were issued.

The work is being monitored by three public prosecutors from Sintra’s Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DIAP), in the presence of two judges from the Sintra circuit court.

The detainees – five doctors, one pharmacy owner, and five other people – are aged 40 to 79. They are to be brought before a judge for initial interrogation and the application of any remand or bail conditions.

 

Lack of operators at INEM reduce average 112 answer times in June.

Monday, July 1st, 2019

In June, the average number of calls made at the National Institute of Medical Emergency (INEM) skyrocketed. On certain days, there were periods when operators took, on average, six and eight minutes to answer the phones, when the recommended number is seven seconds. In the same month, almost ten thousand calls were lost and only half were recovered.

Internal data from INEM obtained by the Jornel de Noticais (JN) reveal many problems in the Urgent Patient Guidance Centers (CODU). First of all, serious shortages of human resources. Practically every day there are fewer pre-hospital emergency technicians (TEPHs) in service.

According to the information to which the JN had access, on June 21, Friday after the Corpo de Deus holiday, between 10.30 and 11.00, the operators took an average of six minutes to answer the calls transferred by the exchange 112. On the 24th, St. John’s Day in Porto, between 10.00 am and 10.30 am, the average time was eight minutes.

In response to the JN, INEM clarified that these are “service peaks”, “that represent exceptions to the punctual service which is the performance of the CODU”.

However, throughout the month, there are several examples that point to many difficulties. On day 2, the three CODUs (Porto, Coimbra and Lisbon) answered a total of 3465 calls, with an average service time of 217 seconds (3.6 minutes).

That day when there was less TEPHs at the service (64 when the average of the month is 70). On the same day 2, a total of 1716 calls were disconnected at the origin and the call-back system only retrieved 28% of the contacts. The next day, 1124 calls were lost and 25% were recovered.

Not all outgoing calls at the source are unresponsive emergencies. The INEM explains that some are to ask if the ambulance is delayed, others are turned off because the caller realizes that someone has already called INEM and there are also abusive uses.

Between 1 and 24 June, of the 89 215 calls answered, 9805 were turned off before the operator answered and only 49% were retrieved. About the remaining 51% no one knows the purpose they had.

It is claimed that with a deficit of more than 400 TEPHs, the coverage does not stretch. Professionals are lacking in CODU and in ambulances. As a result, call waiting times increase, thousands are lost in the middle, and the inoperability of the means grows.

The numbers are not surprising to the vice president of the Pre-Hospital Emergency Workers’ Union (STEPH). And July and August “will be worse, both at media level and at CODU level,” predicts Rui Lázaro.

July and August can worsen

INEM guarantees that in the CODU “the scales will be as complete as possible” and stated the recent authorization of the Government that allows workers to work up to 80% of their base remuneration.

Rui Lázaro is not so optimistic. The scales of this month already indicate problems. The CODU Norte has, on average, 15 scheduled operators per shift, when the minimum is 19, says the STEPH leader. Of those, it remains to be seen how many will actually be present because there are always unpredictable shortages and “last-minute changes to open up means that are inoperative.” It should be noted that the TEPH can work both in the CODU and in the INEM.

In the ambulances, the July scales are also lacking. The ambulance Porto 1 (in Rua de Faria Guimarães) “has already closed the night shift” and of the 62 planned, has 12 assured.

For Rui Lázaro, in addition to the shortage of TEPH, there is growing dissatisfaction among professionals with a recent schedule, which is increasing the unavailability of technicians to work overtime.