At the Joaquin Benlloch Health Center, in Carrera de Malilla, 18 doctors work in Primary Care. They are, along with the rest of the health professionals in the Valencian outpatient clinics, the first line in front of Covid-19 and in front of the health problems and needs that any Valencian citizen may have. In July, the summer holidays started and they will continue in August and September. That is why there are only 11 doctors working at the moment. How many positions have been filled so far?We only have one partner on leave and there are no more replacements“, says one of the doctors who prefers not to make his name public for fear of reprisals.
“It would take at least three more doctors to run the center moderately well. Now we can’t cope with the patients,” he says. “And we are the same people who haven’t stopped in four months without any help,” he says.
This is an example of how health centres are working. The lack of personnel in Primary Care is a fact. It is witnessed by overcrowded waiting rooms when there was no coronavirus, overloaded schedules of doctors and now it is evident in the queues of users at the doors of the clinics and in the calls that pile up in the phone room.
The MIR announce indefinite strike from July 21 “due to the lack of dialogue with the council”
The Councillor for Health, Ana Barceló, said on Thursday that the job boards are exhausted but with the recruitment made this summer, sufficient resources were available to cover care needs. There are 422 summer reinforcements and they consist of 173 doctors and paediatricians, 143 nurses and nursing assistants and 75 administrative staff and 31 guards.
However, these reinforcements are going to have some casualties deducted. Doctors in formation, MIR, call for indefinite strike from July 21, and they do so according to a statement “in the absence of dialogue with the Ministry.
So far on Thursday, Barcelo made it clear that of the 1,200 Covid-19 trackers he intended to hire, 257 are missing.
The CSIF union, one of the strongest pressure groups within the Valencian health sector, estimated before the pandemic that 300 doctors were needed. And for the summer season they estimate that 600 doctors are needed to cover Primary and Specialized Care.
“There is a need for more practitioners and specialists in both primary and specialist areas. The new normality requires that the templates are complete and that professionals are reinforced in order to treat with dignity and give the necessary coverage to the population. Professionals are exhausted after the pandemic. Written protocols must be established to determine contingencies and specific situations,” said Fernando García, president of CSIF Sanidad in the province of Valencia.
Garcia said that from the union “we have sent a report with about 50 measures for health reconstruction to the Les Corts committee which deals with this issue and which, inexplicably, did not have CSIF in the hearings, despite being the majority union. We also demand more information and to determine the number of specialists needed per population, quotas, telephone and in-person attention, etc. We want a meeting to discuss all the improvements and needs of the professionals”.
The general secretary of the Medical Union, Andrés Cánovas, said that only for summer replacements, “at least 100% more than what is said to have been hired” is needed.
Cánovas called for courage from Councillor Barceló “so that she recognizes that she has not been able to hire more staff and that she does not excuse herself that the job markets are already empty” because “they have to anticipate and decide on hiring much earlier because otherwise what happens every year is that many Valencian doctors go to neighbouring regions such as Murcia and Castilla-La Mancha because they have made a commitment there much earlier”.
The nursing union says that Councillor Barceló “told us that she would replace 100 per cent of the staff in essential services and between 65 and 70 per cent in non-essential services”. They indicate that they are aware that all nurses are registered with the 2016 and 2017 job boards“and also the recent graduates of Nursing.”
“It is no longer just a question of replacements during the holiday period, but that the Valencian Community has been suffering from a shortage of staff for years,” said Satse.
Lack of staffing forces double the number of guards at the Peset Emergency Room
The job centre run by the Health Department has run out of doctors and this has meant that it has not been possible to hire replacements for the guards at the door of the Peset Hospital’s Emergency Room during the three summer months. In order to cover the gaps left by the doctors who are going on holiday, the management of the centre has summoned the various heads of section of the hospital to appoint a doctor from their service to carry out one shift per month in order to cover the gaps in personnel who have not been hired.
The decision of the Peset’s management leaves in question the Councillor of Health, Ana Barceló, when last Thursday she stated that they have “sufficient resources to cover the assistance needs” during this summer. For the head of Health of the popular group in Les Corts, José Juan Zaplana, the circular of the direction of the Peset shows that there are not enough staff, despite what the Councillor Barceló says.
The order is reflected in an internal circular dated July 8 and signed by the medical director of the aforementioned hospital, Rosario López.
The directive calls on the heads of the sections of internal medicine, pneumology, digestive medicine, neurology, cardiology, allergy, oncology, endocrine, rheumatology, nephrology and haematology to appoint a doctor to stand guard at the door of the emergency room once a month, three times in total, “given the impossibility of covering the guards” of this service.
As an example, in the Navy Health DepartmentFor a total of 100 guards and administrative staff, 12 have been hired to cover the summer leave. The summer offices are open for fewer hours so that they can go to the Health Centre and help with the guards and summer holiday replacements.
In La Ribera, the lack of personnel in the health centres of the coastal municipalities is a constant according to the trade unions. In Cullera, where there are peaks of 200.00 inhabitants in summerAccording to the trade unions, only half of the vacant seats are filled.
At la SaforIn addition, CSIF estimates that there is a shortage of 50 physicians, specialists and family doctors and 25 administrative staff. For its part, UGT states that “the doctors’ holidays are not covered”. They say that there are about 30 people missing in administration and to attend to the so-called Korea, Beniopa and Oliva health centres. However, the socialist union adds that the nursing posts that are now on holiday have been replaced 100% in the hospital and all the Covid-19 reinforcements are being maintained.