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Dr. João Bacalhau

Chairman of the Board 
of Directors
CEO Grupo HPA Saúde

 

 

Dr. João Bacalhau

Algarve and Alentejo together for more and better health
Hospital Particular do Alentejo · Sines

HPA Magazine 16



Not many companies, when announced, already enjoy the privilege of having a successful and distinguished long history. 
 The Hospital Particular do Alentejo has this advantage, a history that spans 44 years, in a purpose build building that still remains today the largest private health unit in the coastal region of the Alentejo: CLÍDIS, Clínica de Diagnósticos de Sines.
In May 2021 it opened as the Hospital Particular do Alentejo, the most recent hospital of the HPA Health Group, aiming at a promising future, to do justice to the history that precedes it. 


Algarve e Alentejo juntos para mais e melhor saúde


 

WHAT MANAGEMENT STRATEGY WAS THE BASIS FOR THE EXPANSION OF THE HPA HEALTH GROUP TO THE COASTAL REGION OF THE ALENTEJO?
It wasn't very different from the one we initiated in the Algarve and repeated in Madeira. In other words, to offer medical treatment to a healthcare deprived population, providing the autonomy of choice in a region where previously, people needed to travel in search of medical care.
This was the case in the Algarve, when in 1996 we opened the first private hospital in the region, offering services and equipment that did not exist outside Lisbon, with professional teams trained to provide differentiated medical care.
We repeated this mission when we chose Madeira. Regardless of my origins being from Madeira, I also realized that the region needed a hospital built from scratch with the experience of the HPA. 
A hospital unit with technological and human differentiation in line with the tourist potential of one of the most beautiful regions in the world.
We now close the circle with the Alentejo, a region that also did not have a private hospital, a region still with some deficiency as far as health services and medical care were concerned, a very attractive region which has been gaining prominence in tourism, but also in other sectors.
In other words, our strategy has remained faithful to the mission and values we wish to maintain for the HPA Health Group. Serving those who need our services. And Alentejo needs and deserves it.

THE HOSPITAL PARTICULAR DO ALENTEJO HAS BEEN PREPARING SINCE 2018 TO ADAPT FROM BEING A CLINIC TO BECOMING A HOSPITAL. WHAT HAS BEEN TAKING PLACE DURING THIS PERIOD?
It is true that we have been preparing and organizing the Hospital Particular do Alentejo for some time. We just didn't complete the project sooner due to the various contingencies caused by the pandemic.
We transformed the Outpatient Unit and surrounding area, created a new Permanent Care Unit, doubled the capacity of consulting and treatment rooms, added new medical specialties such as Ophthalmology, and improved the capacity of existing specialties such as Cardiology, Orthopaedics, Gastroenterology and Gynaecology/Obstetrics.
New diagnostic equipment was acquired such as Ocular Tomography (OCT) and Biometry, we renewed the entire Endoscopy Unit and also the entire Imaging Department.  In line with the latest technology available, a new MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) was installed including new X-Ray, Ultrasound and CT Scan equipment, resulting in substantial improvement to the services provided.
It is unbelievable to think that in the entire Coastal Region of the Alentejo there was no MRI equipment, until now! As I mentioned previously, we are pleased to be the first to fill this gap, but above all to know that the population residing in this region, now have access to quicker and safer diagnoses, resulting in additional and better healthcare.
Last but not least: an operating theatre with two rooms and, of course, an inpatient unit with an intermediate care unit, for situations of greater clinical demand.

BEING THE 6thHOSPITAL UNIT OF THE GROUP FACILITATES ORGANIZATION AND LOGISTICS.
Yes, it's true. The experience acquired over these 25 years has given us more security and serenity, has made us more efficient and also has allowed us to anticipate difficulties. But the truth is that there is always something more to be learnt with a new project. New people make up the teams, locations are different, regions have particular specificities. We always try to respect these aspects, as we believe that proximity care is only effective if we know and are close to our human resources.
At the HPA Health Group, our aim is to share resources, not only in terms of equipment and technology, but also in terms of human resources. This means that everyone is invited to participate and share their knowledge with the new teams or with the new units, always seeking, however, to maintain a strong team of local human resources. We believe that in this way we contribute to employment and social stability in the various regions where we are based, but also because “local residents” always have a lot to teach us.
Sines and the Hospital Particular do Alentejo have been no exceptions. The local teams were supported by those of the Algarve – to whom I would like to send a special thank you – but the “backbone” of the unit is from the Alentejo and are all very proud of that.
 


THE HOSPITAL PARTICULAR DO ALENTEJO HAS A LONG HISTORY, BUT WE ALSO KNOW IN A VERY DECISIVE WAY WHAT WE WANT TO ATTAIN IN THE FUTURE.
It is true. I'll leave the history to Dr Célia Allen, because to her we owe the successful history of the unit and, therefore, I'll talk about the future.
In fact, we already have a new project panned for the very near future, for the growth of the Particular Hospital do Alentejo, which will result in a bigger and more robust health unit for the people of the Alentejo.
We have already designed a new building in the “mirror image”, of the original. We expect to transfer all the Outpatient Services to the future new building, permitting the expansion of the Inpatient and Emergency Units of the current building. 

HOW HAVE THE FOUR ALENTEJO CLINICS OF THE HPA HEALTH GROUP INTEGRATED WITH THE NEW HOSPITAL?
The Private Clinics situated in Vila Nova de Milfontes, São Teotónio, Odemira and Beja are proximity units, providing medical and diagnostic specialties by appointment, but also facilitating screening. Complex situations or when additional resources are needed, such as exams and surgery patients are referred to the HPA hospitals.
At the HPA Health Group, we have been using an integrated management system in terms of clinical information for many years, which allows for contemporary sharing of all information by health professionals at all our units. This possibility results in the teams feeling supported and protected; a colleague who works in Odemira may at any time request the support of a colleague from Sines or Alvor, or even from Funchal, if he so wishes.
This facility makes the teams more cohesive, but also stronger, and who benefits most from this advantage will always be the patient.

THE ALENTEJO, NAMELY THE MUNICIPALITY OF ODEMIRA, WAS ONE OF THE REGIONS TO HAVE SUFFERED MOST WITH THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THERE HAS BEEN A NEED FOR HPA ALENTEJO TO RAPIDLY ORGANIZE AND OFFER A QUICK AND EFFECTIVE RESPONSE.
It is true. I take this opportunity to thank the dedication and excellent performance of all the professionals involved, naturally with a special thank you to our own staff. 
The Alentejo was, in fact, an example of union and cooperation between the SNS and the private sector, where each gave their best.  Testing posts were established in record time in Sines, Odemira, Grândola and Beja, which proved to be a crucial weapon in this war, which unfortunately has not ended and has weakened us as a country.