Portugal: Hospital bosses call for probe into report of falsification of cases - Macau Business
The group representing the administrators of Portugal’s hospitals on Tuesday expressed concern at allegations of the falsification of clinical results and undue changes to the triage system in the emergency department at Cascais Hospital, calling on the authorities to clarify the matter as soon as possible.
In comments to Lusa, the president of the Portuguese Association of Hospital Administrators, Alexandre Lourenço, said he was “apprehensive” about a report by SIC television on the alleged incidents at the public hospital, which is run by a private company.
“It is important to await clarification on the part of the board of directors [at the unit],” Lourenço said. “And the office of public prosecutions and the inspectorate-general of health should clarify this situation as soon as possible.”
In a statement, the board of the Lusíadas group, which manages the Cascais unit under a public-private partnership, said that the hospital “formally denies any involvement in the distortion of any clinical results or any algorithms in the triage system.” But, it went on, given that “the facts reported in the report refer to individual behaviours, the Lusíadas group will proceed to ascertain their veracity.”
The association president, Lourenço, stressed that the accusations made are “serious enough” to warrant a criminal complaint to prosecutors, and that, if they are proved to be true, they imply “harm to patients and the state”, with behaviour that is not “remotely justifiable”.
He was, he added, “sure that there are no similar situations in other hospitals, namely in EPEs [state-run units], not least because there are no kind of incentives [in publicly run hospitals] that lead to this type of practice.”
Also on Tuesday, the head of Portugal’s Order of Physicians, Miguel Guimarães, expressed concern about the reported falsification of clinical results and tweaks to the triage system at the Cascais hospital, and said that his organisation would intervene to analyse the situation.
Several healthcare professionals currently or formerly working at the Cascais hospital have accused the unit’s administration of distorting clinical results and the algorithms that govern the triage system in order to boost the revenues that are paid from state coffers to the public-private partnership, according to the report broadcast on Monday night by SIC.
The self-styled whistleblowers said that they had been told to downplay symptoms or the gravity of patients’ cases, so that the Manchester triage algorithms used in the hospital to define the priority of patient cases would generate a green bracelet colour instead of yellow, for example, so that maximum times for the colour in question were not exceeded.
SIC reported that complaints regarding practices in the hospital have already reached government inspectors and public prosecutors.
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