The Portuguese Society of Internal Medicine (SPMI) and the Portuguese Association of General and Family Medicine (APMGF) will meet on 13 October in Lisbon to warn of “chaos in emergency services when winter begins.”

SPMI and APMGF said they were worried about the arrival of winter, arguing that “the Portuguese’s appeal to hospital emergencies is twice the average of the OECD countries” – Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

“In recent years, there has been a tendency to resort to the hospital emergency service, to the detriment of the demand for primary health care. This increasing demand makes hospital emergencies always working within the limits of efficiency and leads to the occurrence of multiple waiting hours in the service, “said João Araújo Correia, president of SPMI.

According to the specialist, this situation “far exceeds the recommendations of the Manchester Triage, compromising the safety of patients and professionals.”

“It was good that there was the political courage to publicize a compulsory circuit for the non-emergent acute patient, which would indicate the need for the primary resource to the Health Centre, being guaranteed, easy access in extended hours,” he says.

It also considers that “significant changes are also necessary in the financing of Hospitals and Health Centres, giving different incentives to the treatment of the acute patient, according to the natural mission of each one.”

The two entities hope that this joint meeting will produce a consensual document, to be released publicly, and sent to the Ministry of Health, the Directorate General of Health and the Regional Health Administrations.

SPMI considers that the increase in the relationship between Internal Medicine and General and Family Medicine “is a fundamental condition for real improvements in the efficiency of the National Health Service”.