"The aim is to reward the people who are most committed to this cause," the regional social democrat leader, Cristóvão Norte, told Lusa, adding that the petition "already has more than 1,000 signatures".
Cristóvão Norte's message on social media reads, "the five people who gather the most signatures [...] are offered a trip, including accommodation, to visit the European Parliament in Brussels, between the 28 and 30 November.
The PSD/Algarve intends to reach 7,500 signatures by the end of the year, the number necessary for the construction of the new Algarve Central Hospital to be discussed in a debate in the Assembly of the Republic.
Cristóvão Norte assured that "people are in favour" of this construction, but that the subject has been "long promised and long postponed", and it is important to carry out actions of this kind.
According to the text of the petition addressed to Prime Minister António Costa, "the construction of a new Algarve Central Hospital is an incontrovertible need for the region".
According to the petition, since 2003, the hospital has been considered "a fundamental infrastructure" by "all governments, without exception of parties, members of parliament, local councillors, associations, unions, among others".
The text recalls that in 2005, the Government in office commissioned a study where the Algarve Central Hospital was ranked second in the "ranking of priorities for the construction of new hospital units".
However, the construction of the infrastructure never went ahead, "with no decision-making procedure known for it to become a reality".
"This postponement is highly damaging to the interests of the region and the Algarvians, but also to the country", the petition stresses.
The project for a new hospital in the Algarve dates back to 2002, when the then Minister of Health, Luís Filipe Pereira (PSD), set up an inter-departmental group to launch public-private partnerships, including a new hospital unit to be installed at Parque das Cidades, between Faro and Loulé.
The following year, in 2003, the land for its construction was approved, in 2007, the profile of care and dimensions were approved, and in 2008, the then Prime Minister, José Sócrates (PS), even laid the first stone of the hospital, which would be ready by 2013.
The public petition can be signed 'online' at https://peticaopublica.com/pview.aspx?pi=PT113410.