More ‘Green Routes’ ; 25 Roadworks In Funchal ; Pombo Torcaz ; Church Robbers Caught

(6th August). Today’s main front page photo shows an empty hospital corridor . ‘More ‘Green Routes’ Are Going To Speed Up Emergencies – After the quick accesses created for patients with sepsis and strokes, there follows quick-routes for coronaries and traumas’. ‘Vias Verdes’ or ‘Green Routes’ are the latest fashion in Funchal Central Hospital, so those attending the emergency department with serious health problems can bypass the triage system and the waiting room queues, and get seen and treated that much quicker. By the end of this year there will be 4 such green routes, and these are coupled with the new computer system that manages admissions and allocations, ensuring that patients with these 4 dangerous conditions have a greater chance of survival and less chance of enduring ill health. The World Health Organization estimates that there is a reduction of about 20% of the number of deaths of trauma victims alone, in countries where there are routes direct to the place of medical treatment. A hospital spokesman states that not all ‘victims’ will enter the’ Via Verde ‘. A hospital spokesman said the fast-track system will be activated depending on the clinical situation of each patient, but in case of danger of life or loss of a bodily function, then the ‘Via Verde’ is immediately implemented. Makes sense, but doesn’t make sense, if you ask me. If a patient still has to assessed, then surely the fast-track should be up to the point of assessment, and from there it is a matter of prioritising and reallocating doctors and treatment.

’25 Works Of Various Types To Finish In The Summer – The project was to take advantage of the school holidays. In the end, the traffic didn’t diminish’. Traffic returned with a shock in Funchal. Paving work starts today in São António and has started on the road 5 de Outubro in Funchal, making necessary an access change at the end at Avenida do Mar, causing some confusion. Drivers complain about the lack of signs about the changes. But the local authority says that the works are important, and August is the best time to do them. Anyway the article gives comments on several of the works, and it seems like disruption is the key word. Couldn’t agree more that school holidays are the best time for essential road repairs and upgrades, but 25 in Funchal, all in one month! I am sure more sceptical readers will have already thought … road improvements x 25 … inaugurations x 25 … elections in September / October … but I believe deeply in the integrity of this government, and would say to these people that Uncle Bertie is just looking after us all, thinking of our safety, and creating employment. Long live Bertie!!!

‘Police Make The "Biggest Seizure Ever" Of Ecstasy On Madeira – The authorities seized 17,450 units of the drug’. Through the criminal investigation squad of Câmara de Lobos, an important drug distribution network has been broken in the north of the island, particularly São Vicente. The police did a stake out in order to catch and arrest 5 individuals and seize 300 ecstasy doses, and then on searching the residence of one of the 5 they found the rest of the evil haul, as well as €1,470 in cash. The police say that the drug seized has been popping up at venues recently, particularly large music events. The 5 arrested are aged between 23 and 36, three male and two female.

More 'Green Routes' ; 25 Roadworks In Funchal ; Pombo Torcaz ; Church Robbers Caught 1 "Easiest And Cheapest Solution" – Quercus regrets the authorization given for the slaughter of Pombo Torcaz’. "We regret that option for the easier and cheaper solution was taken instead of actually taking the steps necessary and appropriate in order to protect the Torcaz Pigeon" said the representative of the environmental organisation Quercus, especially as the authorisation is for an indefinite period. The order was made by Regional Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources (SRARN), but Quercus argue that crops should be protected with nets and scarecrows, with compensation for farmers with crop losses. There seems to be some difference of opinion on whether the bird is called Trocaz or Torcaz, but the bird was extensively hunted here for 4 or more years until 1989, when it was given a protected status. The pigeon is particularly fond of cabbage.

In football : ‘The ‘Exchanges’ Of Players That Stir Up Rivalry’. With a local derby match due to be played in Machico on Saturday, rivalry between Nacional and Marítimo has been stirred up between the two clubs, after the signing of ex-Nacional defender Alonso by Marítimo. Hardly front page news I know, but with the new football season just a week away, I think the daily front page football story is already back in force.

Following last week’s serious fires in parts of Santa Cruz, the local firemen are out and about cutting down the bigger Eucalyptus and Pine trees that are considered to pose a future fire risk to the population. Householders are being advised to ensure that their properties have a surrounding "clear area" of at least 10 metres, and not to light fires (prohibited anyway during Summer months), and outside of this period to contact the fire department to supervise fires (average cost around €10).

‘Detained And Identified A Trio Of Robbers Who Carried Out A ‘Rally’ Of Churches’. Only a little place in the newspaper, but a big story on the news last night and today. Three men were arrested yesterday by Ribeira Brava police suspected of a spate of church robberies over the last few days. They were about to do the same with the church in Tabua very early morning when a police patrol spotted them, catching them after an attempted escape. The problem has been mainly in the north of Madeira, but the police believe they have the men responsible. The ‘getaway’ car was stolen, and had false plates, and was believed to have just been used in another church robbery in Conceição in Ponta do Sol where the donation box and other property was stolen.

‘Xenophobia in Jersey – The Constable of St. Helier says he was "shocked" by the controversy over the Rue de Funchal’. The change of name of a street in St. Helier, Jersey, from James Street to Rue de Funchal, is at the heart of a controversy with "xenophobic" overtones, that has been stirring for a few days in the population centre of the capital of this British island. "The case is serious". Rue de Funchal was named in recognition of the island’s British connection with Portugal, including the important community of Madeiran immigrants. READ MORE
I am quite surprised really. I have never been to Jersey, but I though it was quite upmarket, and even if that is a false impression, perhaps some people forget that the Madeirans go there and take all the c**p minimum wage jobs that the locals won’t do, and that alone should be a reason for gratitude rather than racism.

It was destined for sure, as I made the observation yesterday that Madeira probably didn’t have any ‘live’ Gripe A cases, that within an hour of the posting that 4 new swine flu cases were reported. The 4 new cases are ‘imported’, as were the previous 12. The truth is that I forgot that we have now moved to a weekly reporting system for Gripe A cases, and we will only get  a ‘balance’ in future every Wednesday. Nationally, a big jump yesterday took Portugal over the 400 confirmed cases.

(5th August). According to the Jornal da Madeira, Funchal Central Hospital treated 770 cases of intoxication in 2008. 360 of these were alcohol consumption, 123 were accidental, and 287 were premeditated ingestion of poisons, pills and other toxic substances.

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