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Speech at the award ceremony of the vehicle to Alcácer do Sal Health Centre

"Good afternoon to all,

First of all, I would like to thank Dr. José Cardoso Botelho, here in his capacity as Managing Director of Vanguard Properties, for this invaluable donation. It will definitely make it easier to reach some of our patients living in outlying, peripheral areas, where they are isolated and therefore less accessible.

From a brief visit to the site, I was able to ascertain that Vanguard Properties is an important real estate company with investments in the region of 1000 million euros in various parts of the country, ranging from Lisbon to Algarve, Oeiras and also Comporta.

Comporta is a parish in the municipality of Alcácer do Sal, a municipality that is historically rich, geographically large, with very few industries, strongly agricultural, and famous for pine nuts (which some call white gold). Prime quality rice is grown here, but the area is mainly known today for its extraordinary tourist potential.

A potential that is due both to the peace and quiet of the lovely landscapes of pines and cork oaks, the beauty of its riverine vistas, its rice fields and, last but not least, to its long stretches of heavenly beaches with white sands, on a par with the best in the world.

Vanguard Properties recognised the constraints placed on healthcare services by such a sprawling municipality whilst also appreciating the qualities of the healthcare infrastructure, which is a key component in quality tourism. For that reason, Vanguard Properties has generously given us a very good vehicle which honours us but also helps shorten the distances separating some of our patients from prompt and regular medical and healthcare services.

Some of the trips taken on the winding, bone-shaking roads by our nurses will be vastly more comfortable for them and also better for the car’s suspension system!

I will now address the Mayor of Alcácer do Sal Municipality, Dr. Vítor Proença, who is familiar with the terrain and with conditions in some of the more isolated places that are harder to access. This, I am sure, was the enzyme that catalysed Vanguard Properties’ charitable act, by meeting a need of our Health Centre, through the gift of a very useful yet expensive and therefore less easily affordable asset, placed at the disposal of all our residents and increasing the prestige of the National Health Service here.

I would like to add that for many years the Alcácer do Sal Municipality has been a close and valuable partner of the Health Centre (and I would like to point out here the medical station in Palma, which is ready to operate but has not yet been inaugurated, because of Covid-19). Without taking the place of the National Health Service, the municipality has provided assistance to the best of its abilities, conscious that despite its weaknesses the National Health Service has acted to guarantee the quality of regular healthcare services to the local population and also now, during these troubled times under the pandemic.

Without false modesty, I believe I can say that over the years we have become an increasingly valued asset for the municipality. I have no doubt that the mayor was of a like-minded opinion when he decided to enhance the operationality of a municipal healthcare service of great quality and one of which I am proud.

Finally, a word for Dr. Luis Matias and Dr. Pedro Barras, as chairman of the Board of ULSLA and director of DCSP, respectively, whose diligence and capacity for dialogue provided the crucible that enabled this reaction to take place.

And, naturally, I also highlight the quality and dedication of our own professional staff, represented by Dr. Iolanda Noronha, SUB coordinator; Chief Nurse Ana Palmeirinha, Nurse Cristina Caixas, UCC coordinator, Inocência Reguengo, technical coordinator, and Dr. Tamara Prokopenko, municipal health authority, whose activity in these troubled times has been prolific, particularly as a privileged interlocutor with the local authority institutions”.

Alcácer do Sal, 20 April 2020

UCSP Coordinator

Dr. Carlos Laginha

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