Former PSD government official accuses Ministry of Health of “lack of leadership”

"There is clearly, and I am sorry to say, a lack of leadership assumed by the Ministry of Health, due to its poor communication," said the former Deputy Secretary of State of the first PSD / CDS-PP Government of Passos Coelho and who came to assume the role of minister in the second executive of the coalition that lasted less than a month.

JOSÉ SENA GOULÃO / LUSA

Former PSD ruler Fernando Leal da Costa today accused the Ministry of Health of “lack of leadership” in managing the covid-19 pandemic, and even spoke of “a complete disgrace” from the point of view of communication.

"There is clearly, and I am sorry to say, a lack of leadership assumed by the Ministry of Health, due to its poor communication," said the former Deputy Secretary of State of the first PSD / CDS-PP Government of Passos Coelho and who came to assume the role of minister in the second executive of the coalition that lasted less than a month.

In the opening panel of the PSD parliamentary days, dedicated to Portugal's response to the health crisis, both to the pandemic and to non-covid patients, Leal da Costa considered that “there has been a huge strain on the leadership capacity of the Ministry of Health” pandemic.

“It was impossible for the Portuguese to not get enough of having a press conference every day to, in most cases, say absolutely nothing new. It is in fact a complete disgrace from the point of view of the ability to communicate ”, he criticized.

The former ruler also accused the Government of, since the beginning of the pandemic, having shown itself “totally incapable” of using the entire health system and maintaining, until today, “a policy of antagonism” between the public sector and the social and private.

Leal da Costa considered that the period of deflation was not “sufficiently used” to create responses in the intervention and treatment of patients, strange, for example, that it was only in October that the construction of a new intensive care unit of the hospital was announced Fernando da Fonseca, in Lisbon.

In the same panel, the president of the National Association of Public Health Doctors, Ricardo Mexia, left an appeal to PSD deputies, in view of the worsening numbers of the pandemic.

"We need to act, we need to solve the problems on the ground because the situation is evolving quite negatively, which is no longer sympathetic to the discussion, action is needed", he defended.

The doctor pointed out, like Leal da Costa, problems in terms of leadership in the management of the pandemic, both internationally and in Portugal.

"There is a lack of operational coordination: we have technical leadership, which at times seems to be conditioned by political leadership, but which does not become operational - hospitals, health centers ended up making decisions without this operational guidance, which may have promoted some disorganization here" , he considered.

Ricardo Mexia alerted political decision-makers to the importance of “leading by example”, considering that, over time, there have been “several mistakes that have been counterproductive in the message that has been passed on to people”.

The doctor also warned that the magnitude of the problem of lack of response to non-covid patients "is probably greater" than it is possible to identify, and asked for a quick investigation of the causes of increased mortality in Portugal.

At the opening of the sessions, which took place in the Senate Room of the Assembly of the Republic, PSD parliamentary leader Adão Silva explained that some of the 79 Social Democratic deputies were following the work through their offices to allow compliance with the distance rules imposed by the pandemic and presented the theme of the works: “Courage in the present, hope for the future”.

PSD president and deputy Rui Rio will only be present in the afternoon session, with the leadership represented in the morning by vice president David Justino and the president of the National Strategic Council of the party Joaquim Sarmento.

The covid-19 pandemic has caused more than 1,1 million deaths worldwide since December last year, including 2.213 in Portugal.

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