Nurses and doctors remember those daily applause from citizens at the beginning of the epidemic as something that was nice, but that they already knew would not last. Throughout the health crisis, they have also heard praise for their work and promises of job and professional improvement, but then reality prevails: the workforce continues to be underfunded and the health workers are saturated and often have precarious and poorly paid contracts. Nursing protests against this today in Madrid.
The entire group, all the professional associations, grouped in the General Council of Nursing, the Satse union and organizations of the nursing schools, researchers and students, under the Nursing Unit platform, have organized a demonstration today at 11:30 a.m. in the center of Madrid to vindicate nursing and public health, both primary care, such as hospitals and social health. The protest also includes private health professionals.
The infirmary recalls that the vast majority of the additional hirings made by the autonomies ended at the worst moment of the covid. And that one in three nurses has temporary contracts, according to data from Satse, something that the epidemic did not change despite the need for personnel.
“Precariousness has been installed; one-day contracts have been greatly reduced, which were a shame, but there are still them month by month or in which the position and the schedule change,” explains David Oliver, one of the spokesmen for Satse-Catalonia.
Fewer nurses than in other neighboring countries, about 130,000 are missing
“In the epidemic we have shown that nursing is a priority, that without nurses there is no good health,” says Oliver. And yet, the group recalls that historically Spain is one of the countries with a low ratio of nurses per inhabitant; it is 5.6 per 1,000 people, compared to the community average of 9. To assume this average ratio, some 130,000 more professionals should be employed. In Spain there are 325,000 registered nurses (the vast majority are women).
“The ratio is an indicator that we cannot offer the quality of care that should be given,” says Oliver. more risk of complications, of readmissions… And, as far as professionals are concerned, it implies a very large work overload, stress, burnout, more aggressions and abandonment of the profession”.
The nurses are now exploding because they say that after 10 years of cuts due to the economic crisis, the two and a half years of the pandemic have been added, they have been promised improvements from the administrations and those responsible for health, but the covid has gone down and the situation of deficits and precariousness does not change, rather it worsens.
“We feel abandoned by the hand of God, ignored, we are not listened to, in private we receive good words, but then they are not translated into deeds, we see no other solution than to go out into the street and make people aware that we do not invest enough in health”, summarizes Oliver.
Satse-Catalunya points out, for example, that waiting lists for consultations and tests in hospitals are increasing and even the waiting time to be treated in a primary care center and collapses in centers are becoming more common, not only as before due to the flu or the holidays “and not only in the summer are units and services closed”.
Among the demands, apart from calling for economic improvements or improvements in working conditions, there is also a request to put a stop to aggression, which is on the rise: the saturation of consultations makes many patients and nurses and administrative staff impatient and frustrated They are the first to suffer.
Another claim, which has been dragging on for at least 15 years, is that nursing be recognized in the so-called group A of public administration workers, not in a lower professional category, in subgroup A2 as it is now.
Nursing thus takes out on the street its accumulated discomfort towards those responsible for the administrations. The organizations ensure that the protest is historic, that there has not been such a unitary action by the collective for years and demands that political leaders “fulfill the commitments made during the pandemic and implement the necessary measures to improve health care , as well as their professional and working conditions”.
The demonstration will start from Plaza Jacinto Benavente, will pass in front of the Congress of Deputies and will end in front of the Ministry of Health. Nursing colleges from different provinces have chartered buses for professionals who want to participate in the protest, in which thousands of participants are expected, although the organizers admit that being on a hot Saturday in June in the capital may reduce attendees.