The official medical schools of Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerifeand they coincide in the labor instability that affects almost half of the doctors who work in Public Health in the Canary Islands. And this problem, which has been getting worse for more than a decade, according to the aforementioned bodies, together with the lack of sufficient professionalis or the lack of adequate infrastructures or technical resources, has been shown with the evolution of the pandemic in the last weeks and months. For this reason, the President of the College of the Western Isles, Rodrigo Martín, demands that the Ministry of Health apply an Emergency Plan in Primary Care and hospitals.
Martín assures that those responsible for the health area in the Government of the Canary Islands they must agree on this project with the representatives of the doctors who have been democratically elected in both provinces. In that line, Rodrigo Martín remembers the matterIt is important for the Archipelago authorities to take into account the contributions of doctors who have “clinical activity”, that is, those who work in health centers, emergencies and hospital complexes, as they are the ones who best know the reality generated by the spread of the covid -19. That is, the president of the College of Santa Cruz de Tenerife Submits that the Ministry of Health Do not just listen to the recommendations made by “experts” who propose actions from “theory”.
“Throughout the Archipelago, hundreds of doctors are needed in Public Health centers”
For Martin, Public Health, in Primary and Hospital Care, has “chronic problems and is saturated”. He states that there is a clear “disproportion between health personnel, infrastructures and technical resources with respect to the population” in all the Islands, “but mainly in Tenerife”, which is the territory that has accumulated the most infected since the beginning of the pandemic . This pressure on doctors in recent weeks has caused cases of “depression, tension, stress, which are going to increase,” he explains.
Another of the proposals of the collegiate body It consists of “debureaucratizing” the work of medical professionals, with the aim that they focus on patient care and not on tasks that they can do other health employees. But Martín defends that in this section “effective, practical measures that really work” are applied. The president of the College of Santa Cruz de Tenerife notes that the program for the automatic renewal of drug prescriptions “has worked fatally.” It indicates that “they have changed the system to facilitate the process and it has gotten worse.”
But he is also critical of other options. For example, he asks: «¿How can a worker be dismissed or discharged without seeing a doctor?»In this area, it defends that this function corresponds only to doctors and should not be granted, for example, to pharmacies. It is also questioned how it can be generalized that a person can stop being isolated seven days after having knowledge of the positive. According to Martín, this measure may be useful for some citizens, but not for others; and who must determine an option or the opposite is a doctor.
According to the president of the Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Primary Care, Emergency or hospital professionalsIt is called on to this entity to expose the daily problems they face, so there is first-hand information, so the solutions applied by the Government must be agreed with the collegiate body.
Pedro Cabrera, president of the Colegio de Las Palmas, believes that the misguided labor policies began as a result of the financial crisis of 2007, when “extreme savings measures” were initiated, with which, supposedly, the conditions of the doctors began to “resent”. One of them was a regulation that only allowed to fill the positions of 10% of the professionals who retired, according to Cabrera.
«More than 50% of the workforce have a certain degree of temporality»
If until about 14 years ago, doctors hired as “statutory personnel” predominated (a figure similar to that of civil servant), after winning an opposition competition, at the moment “more than 50% of the staff have a certain degree of temporary status.” In Cabrera’s opinion, the staff hired on a temporary basis “does not work less or worse, but with more uncertainty” from a socioeconomic point of view. “And with the COVID explosion, the system has shown cracks that were unthinkable years ago.”
For example, he clarifies that in the islands outside the capital, the administration “has a hard time finding doctors” to work in Public Health and “many professionals are passing through, so, as soon as they can, they jump to Tenerife or Gran Canaria, or good to the Peninsula ». Given this circumstance, Cabrera estimates that the squares in Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera or El Hierro should “be encouraged” in some way to make them attractive.
The successive ‘patches’
Rodrigo Martín states that labor problems worsened by the 2007 crisis, But, in reality, the lack of personnel, infrastructure or material resources began much earlier. “The means are insufficient and the patches applied by successive autonomous governments have worked badly,” he says. He regrets that the authorities ask the workers “to make an extra effort, but they do not give anything in return.”
Martín assures that, since his appointment, on September 4, 2020, the director of Canary Islands Health Service (SCS) he has not held a single meeting with the Official College of Physicians of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. And, in the case of the Minister of Health, Blas Trujillo, he had a single meeting with said entity shortly after taking office, according to Martín.
“And it will not be because we have not asked, even with certified letters and with acknowledgment of receipt,” says the president of the College of the Western Isles. Clarifies that with both heads of Health in the Archipelago exchanges information or data through whatsapp or messaging, “But thus it is not possible to develop an Emergency Plan” that will serve to face the current saturation of health centers and hospitals on the islands. Neither Pedro Cabrera nor Rodrigo Martín are able to offer an exact number on the doctors that are needed in the Public Health of the Canary Islands. But the president of the College of Santa Cruz de Tenerife notes that staff shortages can amount to “several hundred” throughout the Archipelago.