Public health crisis in DF seems to have no end

posted on 6/19/2022 06:00 / updated on 06/19/2022 07:09

Health problems in the Federal District, such as a shortage of doctors, affect professionals and patients - (credit: Marcelo Ferreira/CB/DA Press)

Health problems in the Federal District, such as a shortage of doctors, affect professionals and patients – (credit: Marcelo Ferreira/CB/DA Press)

Overcrowding, delay in service, lack of professionals and shortage of supplies. Those who attend public health units in the Federal District have to deal daily with difficulties that, year after year, are not remedied. Unfortunately, the chaotic situation is repeated in the administrative regions. The Correio visited some hospitals in the Federal District last Friday (05/17) and spoke with patients and companions. Reports include waiting up to seven hours, lack of oxygen and shortage of doctors. The problems, however, are not limited to the delivery of services and also affect health professionals. Employees’ complaints are similar to those of users: work overload, lack of materials and reduced staff.

Merchant Alice Lira, 23, arrived at the emergency room of the Regional Hospital of Ceilândia (HRC) with her daughter Helena, 2, at around 1 pm to assess the girl’s symptoms of bronchiolitis — a condition that affects the respiratory system of young children. She got treatment only after more than two and a half hours of waiting. According to the mother, a nurse from the unit delivered a yellow bracelet (urgent) and said that she only attended to those who were at risk of death. Little Helena, in addition to being very tired, coughed and had a fever for three days. “The nurse said that my daughter needs care, but she doesn’t have it, because the HRC is overcrowded,” says the trader, who witnessed a baby receiving nebulization in a waiting chair because there was no oxygen available.

Alice demands from the Federal District Government (GDF) more investments in health and less in works, to prioritize the well-being of the population. “The service out here (at the counter) was fast, but the problem is inside. They should attend to those in need. The government prioritizes other things, not health”, criticizes the resident of Sol Nascente. The observation is reinforced by Clayton Germano, from the 2nd Public Prosecutor’s Office for the Defense of Health (Prosus), from the Public Ministry of the Federal District and Territories (MPDFT). “The governor and the Secretaries of Economy and Works need to prioritize actions in health and make decisions, which are not easy, but which serve the population. The MPDFT pressures managers to hire more professionals”, says the prosecutor.

It requires that, at least, vacant positions in the Health Department be filled. “Practically all specialties have a gap in professionals. This lack directly impacts the provision of services. It is a serious problem”, observes the prosecutor. According to the DF’s Transparency Portal, of the total of 54,950 health positions in the country’s capital, 24,271 (44%) are vacant.

Clayton suggests creating careers for employees, including requiring exclusivity for public service. “They need to be well paid and have the necessary conditions to attract the best professionals. The discussion is wide, public health policies need to be thought of as a whole. We need more investments, the public service is no longer attractive”, he adds.


The lack of specialists in the public network was noticed by the general services assistant Gardene Alves, 44. By bus, she and her husband, Osmar Pereira, 42, arrived at the HRC emergency room at 4:15 pm, seeking dental care. Despite the severe pain in one of her upper teeth, Gardene was not taken in because there was no dentist in the unit. The couple, who live in Ceilândia Norte, were instructed to go to the Taguatinga Regional Hospital (HRT). The search was in vain, and the pair also failed to get care at the HRT. “I’ve had this pain for three days, and it makes it difficult to eat and even drink water,” Gardene reported.

Osmar complained about the ineffectiveness of the public service. “It seems that the government doesn’t have resources for health only, because here it never gets better. At Ceilândia Hospital, it’s always the same thing”, he lamented. In January 2020, when he had an arm fracture due to a work accident, Osmar arrived at the unit at 8:00 am, but was only able to mobilize the limb with a plaster cast around 11:00 pm. “I managed to be attended, but at a great cost”, he recalled.

As prosecutor Clayton Germano pointed out, the shortage of doctors is perceived in many specialties. The resident of Sol Nascente Joaquim dos Santos, 23, felt his knee swelling on Thursday night, after a futsal game. He went to the emergency room at the HRC the next day, at 12:00, and was only seen at 16:30. “They bandaged my knee. The orthopedist gave me a painkiller, asked for a blood test and took the water from my knee,” he said.

There were six people at the front with more serious problems who were still waiting to be seen when he left. “Many people arrived earlier than me, in a more serious case, and were still waiting”, he adds. The same problem described by Joaquim was found by the Correio at the Hospital de Taguatinga. In the emergency room, bricklayer Abner Corrêa, 23, needed assistance from an orthopedist. The resident of Sol Nascente twisted his left knee, which was swollen after the worker had an accident on a construction site. With the injury, he had to bandage the limb, but not before waiting three hours for treatment. “I still waited two more hours for the doctor, because she was having surgery,” he recalled.

Abner asked to hire more doctors at the unit. “There should have been two, instead of just one. The doctor left where I was, along with other patients, to perform the surgery, because there was only her in the hospital”, details the bricklayer. “Apart from me, there was a girl, who had arrived in the morning and still hadn’t been seen,” he reported.

He was referring to hairdresser Laís Silva, 30, who waited from 10 am to 5 pm at the HRT emergency. On Friday morning, while picking up her daughter from school by bicycle, she fell to the ground and tore the ligament in her right knee. With the pain, she needed to take painkillers in the unit. “All this time, they gave me a pain injection and asked me to make an ice pack,” she complained.

Laís had tried care before, at the Regional Hospital of Ceilândia, where there was no orthopedist. At the HRT, she reported having been poorly attended, because the nurses needed to pass some people in more serious conditions up front. “I didn’t know if I had a green or red wristband, etc. So I asked why I hadn’t been attended to, and an employee said out loud ‘I don’t know how to tell you'”, criticized the self-employed.


Gutemberg Fialho, president of the DF Doctors Union (SindMédico-DF), says that the class suffers from a shortage of supplies, from medicines to orthotics and prostheses, in addition to the shortage of professionals. “I don’t know which is more serious, because everything is missing,” he says. The servers are exhausted and the fault for the poor service is not the providers. Minimum conditions are lacking. Recently, according to the president, there has been an increase in resignation requests by professionals, sometimes with 10 or 15 years in the secretariat, and an increase in workload reductions. “Just this month, two pediatricians from Paranoá resigned”, he informs.

For Gutemberg, the government is aware of the lack of professionals and the terrible working conditions, in addition to being aware of inefficient salaries and the lack of structuring of positions. The union president is categorical in highlighting that the health crisis in the DF is not due to the health emergency caused by covid-19. “The chaos comes from before. The pandemic only opened up this chaotic face of public health in the DF. Using the pandemic as an explanation is acting with disloyalty. It is intellectual fraud”, he accuses.

Sought by the Mail, the Health Department reported that it currently has 32,556 servers. “Of this total, 5,173 are doctors. The current management prioritizes the hiring of health professionals to reduce the deficit of the public network. Since 2019, 3,101 public tenders were appointed to the portfolio, in addition to the temporary hiring of 7,756 workers. It is important to note that neither all people assume the positions for which they were appointed, and for this reason, in March of this year, the ministry published a new public notice offering 230 vacancies for doctors in various specialties”, the secretary wrote in a note.

  • Abener Corrêa was treated in the emergency room of the HRT

    Abener Corrêa was treated in the emergency room of the HRT
    Photo: Marcelo Ferreira/CB/DA Press

  •   Lais Silva was treated in the emergency room of HRT

    Lais Silva was treated in the emergency room of HRT
    Photo: Marcelo Ferreira/CB/DA Press


“The service out here (at the counter) was quick, but the problem is inside. They should serve those in need. The government prioritizes other things, not health”

Alice Lira, resident of the Rising Sun

“It seems that the government does not have resources for health only, because here it never gets better. At Ceilândia Hospital, it’s always the same thing”

Osmar Pereira, resident of Ceilândia Norte

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