Nursing

Amidst the height of the country’s fight against Covid-19, the Democratic Union of Nurses in Portugal Sindepor went on a five-day ‘wake-up call’ strike last week, during which only minimum services were provided.

Carlos Ramalho, the president of the syndicate, declared that the walkout was necessary as the nurses are exhausted and their situation in the SNS (National Health Service) deteriorating.

‘We are talking about a process of many years in which the problems have not been resolved by the Government. At this point, the work overload is such that nurses can’t take anymore’.

The union leader further stresses that Portugal is one of the OECD countries with the least number of nurses per 1,000 inhabitants. 

At the same time, the Ordem dos Enfermeiros (Order of Nurses) expressed concern about the recruitment of Portuguese nurses in Europe, revealing that hunting for nurses has intensified from countries such as Spain, the UK and the Netherlands.

These countries are offering lucrative annual contracts for hospitals and nursing homes. From Spain, there have been contracts with offers of 30,000 euros per year, almost double the salary in Portugal. The Netherlands on the other hand is providing – in addition to an ample salary – accommodation, transport and travel.

The OE recalls that ‘although the recognition of the nurses is unanimous, there is no incentive nor decent pay’. Last year more than 4,000 nurses asked the order for a declaration for emigration purposes, a record number that tripled compared to 2017 and represents an increase of 68% compared to 2018.

‘Given the severe situation we are going through – after nine months into the pandemic – it is imperative that the way nurses are hired as well as their working conditions must be improved. There are almost 20,000 nurses abroad and the Government should be concerned with creating means for them to return’, declared OE’s chairwoman Ana Rita Cavaco.

‘We just can’t afford to export more nurses’.

Keep fit                Fique saudável                                 (pic Público/Sapo)









Environment

Climate change in Portugal varies from wildfires to storms

Although the world’s C02 emissions are expected to fall by 8% this year – as the coronavirus pandemic shuts down much of the global economy.- the reduced emissions are very unlikely to have a serious impact on the global levels of carbon dioxide.


The target laid out in the Paris agreement would require at least similar reductions every year in the decades to come.

Climate change in Portugal varies from wildfires to storms. On September 13 the country suffered the largest forest fire of the year whilst only one week later sub-cyclone Alpha ravaged the central districts of Leiria and Coimbra.


Global warming is going to bring more tropical cyclones moving north and eastward from the Atlantic ocean.

Three years ago strong winds and heat from passing hurricane Ophelia fanned more than 150 wildfires, claiming the lives of at least 45 citizens. And last year the Azores were hit by Lorenzo, the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Central North Atlantic, with winds blowing at 260 km/hour.

Although the pandemic decreases air pollution and waste production – the last mainly as a result of the collapsing tourism industry –these changes are most likely temporarily, as the rapid rebound in air pollution and coal consumption to pre-Covid levels across China shows.

Moreover, the increase of plastic disposables during the pandemic– like masks, gloves, gowns, face shields and take-away packages – poses a serious threat to the environment, in particular to the oceans. Every year 230,000 tons of plastic are dumped into the Mediterranean. Various environmental NGO’s, therefore, argue not to use disposable but reusable masks by those who don’t belong to a risk group.

Besides the damage done by the pandemic to the environment, long-term exposure to atmospheric pollution –already linked to heart/lung damage and premature death – may have increased Portugal’s risk of death from Covid by 11%, putting new emphasis on why the disease appears to be most prevalent in metropolitan areas.

Keep distance      Stay healthy                  (pic público/sapo)