INEM guarantees that it is prepared for the transport of patients with coronavirus, with appropriate material and in conditions, with the professionals being trained to handle it, a position contested by the union, which now asks for support to guardianship.
The Jornal de Notícias reported today that the National Emergency Medical Institute (INEM) sent protective equipment against the coronavirus, called covid-19, damaged and in small numbers to the 54 emergency bases.
Speaking to the same publication, the director of the Union of Pre-Hospital Emergency Technicians (STEPH), Rui Lázaro, lamented the lack of training to use these materials and the conditions to report these complaints.
Contacted by Lusa, the person in charge of the medical emergency department at INEM said that the union “is poorly informed”, noting that, so far, only four ambulances have been prepared for the transport of patients with coronavirus and, in this sense, these are the vehicles that have material for this purpose and not all emergency bases.
“We only have four ambulances ready for this purpose [em Lisboa, Porto, Coimbra e Faro]. If the situation evolves, more ambulances will be available. Even if necessary, we will involve more means of INEM in this type of transport or we will use our partners […], such as firefighters and the Portuguese Red Cross ”, guaranteed Fátima Rato.
According to this official, until now, INEM has only received a report, dated February 6, regarding a mask that would be damaged, having carried out “all procedures to replace it, as usual”, stressing that this notification can be made by various media and not just by computer.
“I would like to emphasize that, [Rui Lázaro] being a person who works at the institute should know what effort is made, daily, to give the best answer. If we are in good faith and the concern is the patients, we have to do everything in our power to correct mistakes. People are expected to have a professional and proactive attitude ”, he stressed.
Regarding the training actions for INEM professionals, the doctor also noted that it was decided to retrain knowledge and new training for the use of the materials in question, procedures that she said were already underway or about to start, in throughout the country, and which will cover all teams, in a total of approximately 700 people.
In turn, the STEPH leader stated that the material was sent to all bases, late and damaged, also regretting that the professionals have not received any training in how to handle it.
“INEM sent two masks for each base, and, in the complaints we had, in two bases, [todas] the masks were damaged ”, pointed out Rui Lázaro, assuring Lusa that the professionals reported the situation, via telephone, since the computers in the bases and ambulances are damaged, however, the answer they got is that“ there were no more masks to replace ”.
The union leader noted that the problems with computers have “several months and some more than a year”, showing himself still surprised by INEM not to know this reality.
The STEPH official reiterated that most professionals did not receive any training and stressed that the institute stopped responding to the union structure six months ago, a problem that will be presented, on Monday, in a meeting with the Ministry of Health .
“We give the guardianship an opportunity to resolve and help us overcome these difficulties. If it doesn’t happen, new measures will have to be taken, ”said Rui Lázaro, without explaining the mechanisms that may be at stake.
In a statement, sent later, INEM clarified that the union “wrongly” associated the personal protective equipment, available in all institute emergency means, with specific materials for protection against the coronavirus.
“Regardless of being a different context, in the case of disposable equipment, whenever there is a manufacturing defect, the operators fill out their daily checklist and, if necessary, the equipment is replaced. This is the procedure followed for several years for the replacement of INEM’s media material ”, the document reads.
The Covid-19 coronavirus caused 1,669 deaths and infected around 65,000 people worldwide.
Most cases occurred in China, where the epidemic was detected at the end of the year.
In addition to 1,665 dead in mainland China, there is one dead in the Chinese region of Hong Kong, one in the Philippines, one in Japan and one in France.
Chinese authorities have isolated several cities in central Hubei province to try to control the epidemic, a measure that covers about 60 million people.
In Portugal, seven suspicious situations have arisen so far, but no case has been confirmed.
According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), there are 44 confirmed cases in the European Union and the United Kingdom.