Marta Temido, the Health Minister of Portugal, presented her resignation letter to the Prime Minister this Tuesday as she “no longer has the conditions to remain in the position.” PM Antonio Costa has accepted her resignation request.
The announcement by the Ministry of Health was sent to the media in the early hours of Tuesday morning but did not add any other explanation.
However, her resignation came only a few hours after the report of the death of a pregnant woman on Saturday, after being transferred to another hospital due to a lack of vacancies.
Antonio Costa’s office also sent out an announcement at 1:29 AM saying that the PM “respects her decision” and thanks her for her hard work during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The government will proceed with the reforms in place to strengthen the National Health Service (SNS) and improve the health care provided to all Portuguese people,” says the announcement.
Marta Temido became Health Minister in October of 2018, succeeding Adalberto Campos Fernandos.
While many praised her role during the Covid-19 pandemic, she has been recently criticized for the closure of emergency services around the country. These closures have particularly impacted services related to gynecology and obstetrics.
Miguel Pinto Luz, the Vice President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) said in a press conference that “this resignation represents the failure of the health politics led by the Socialist Party and PM Antonio Costa.”
Speaking about the current issues in the SNS, he said that “the cost has increased, we have never spent so much on health, but the quality has decreased.” “Millions were spent, but emergency services are closed, and appointments are postponed…”, he continues.
Pinto Luz criticized the government, saying that “a mother had to die who did not have access to emergency services in the largest hospital in the country for Temido to resign”.
On Saturday, a pregnant Indian woman that was vacationing in Portugal died after being transferred from Santa Maria Hospital to Sao Francisco Xavier in Lisbon. The woman had to be transferred due to a lack of vacancies in neonatology.
She needed an urgent c-section to save her life as she was suffering from severe preeclampsia and uterine growth restrictions.
The baby survived after an emergency c-section and is currently hospitalized at Sao Francisco Xavier Hospital.