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Portugal replaces health minister amid cuts protests

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Portugal replaces health minister amid cuts protests

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Portugal’s health minister has been replaced after a series of protests against cutbacks in emergency services. Ana Maria Teodoro Jorge takes over from Antonio Correia de Campos, whose popularity had plummeted as a result of plans to close emergency units at hospitals around the country.

Prime Minister Jose Socrates said the new health minister is a doctor who knows the terrain well. “She will pursue the reform and modernisation of the health service with the confidence of the public,” he said.

But people will take some convincing, it seems. There have been protests across the country against a range of proposals that unions say will undermine healthcare services and put more pressure on medical staff.

But Jorge maintains she will take a new approach: “The reforms have been carried out to improve health services. We will continue to talk about that and enter into dialogue,” she said.

In what amounted to a minor cabinet reshuffle, Socrates also appointed a new culture minister.