You are calling for a nationwide strike by doctors in Spain this Tuesday. The background to this is a decree that the local government passed in September. What exactly are you criticizing about the regulation?
According to this decree, doctors should be able to work in departments for which they are not trained. In addition, those who are still awaiting approval can also be appointed as doctors. In addition, we are forced to be deployable within a province, depending on where personnel are needed. If clinic management deems it necessary, nurses should take over the tasks of doctors and provide basic care in hospitals.
In view of the pandemic, is such a decree not logical?
We don’t believe that it was only issued because of the pandemic. The rule is initially only valid for one year, but can be extended. The pandemic is more of an excuse for longer term changes.
What to ask Snot concrete?
The first thing the government must do is withdraw the decree. After all, there are enough doctors in this country – but not many who want to work the way the government wants. A general practitioner only has an average of three minutes per patient. Many of us get very low wages, and some colleagues work our way from one fixed-term contract to the next, and that for decades. When you then see how the job offers outside Spain are for doctors, it is not surprising that some are emigrating. In addition, the work density is far too high and sick colleagues are not replaced enough. To put it briefly: In Spain, a lot more money has to be invested in the health system.
What does the responsible Ministry of Health say about your demands?
We are not heard. The Ministry of Health has not met with the unions since the beginning of the pandemic. There are no talks at the moment. The Minister of Health meets with many, preferably with entrepreneurs, but not with us.
They also demand that adequate protective materials and corona testing be provided for medical staff. What is the status in this regard, a good six months after the start of the pandemic in Spain?
Protection material is currently available. But we don’t know how long the supplies will last. That is why we must now ensure that the necessary things do not go out, as it was at the beginning of the pandemic.
Regarding the corona tests: There are very many people who get some regularly. Professional footballers, for example, are tested every day. But the medical staff who work with infected and high-risk patients every day are only tested if they show symptoms. This situation urgently needs to be changed.
It has recently been reported that follow-up of contacts made after an infection is discovered has to be done by GPs in addition to their daily work. In the FRG, the health authorities are responsible for this.
The government hired doctors to save money. There is protest against this, as the practices are overwhelmed with it. Follow-up helpers have been hired in some cities, but in many places this is still the job of GPs.
They are planning a strike at a time when the reported new infections are also increasing rapidly in Spain. Do you understand those who think this is the wrong time?
We don’t see any other solution to make us heard. The strike is limited to a single day because we are in the middle of the pandemic. We are the first to have an interest in maintaining health care, not in a collapse that puts patients at risk. For weeks we have been holding rallies in front of the health centers and hospitals. But so far there has been no reaction. To get our demands through, we have to strike now.