The health professionals of the Hospital Comarcal del Noroeste belonging to the Internal Medicine Service as well as those belonging to Anesthesiology, Emergencies and Surgery have expressed their discomfort at the repeated lack of health professionals in area IV, both from Medical Specialists and Primary Care Physicians and nursing staff. Yesterday morning they gathered at the main door of this hospital to show their protest at a situation that has worsened in recent months.
«During the last months – they affirm in a letter addressed to the Managing Director of the Murcian Health Service, the General Directorate of Health Assistance and the Health Area IV Management – we have seen how the deficiencies that we had in Area IV, have not done more than get worse. There is a permanent structural deficit in the workforce that the Murcian Health Service has not been able to solve and we consider that the fundamental reason lies, not only in the lack of said professionals, but rather in their poor distribution ”.
«We consider – they add – more than necessary, that in order to guarantee the basic principles of health, an adequate distribution of health personnel is carried out among the different Health areas and adequate assistance is guaranteed to users of the health system, complying with all legal guarantees established in terms of delay times, without this implying a constant overexertion for the health personnel who perform the assistance ”.
Cristina Naranjo, specialist doctor and delegate of CESM-Medical Union of area IV, comments that «linked to the deficit of doctors that exists at the national level, the peripheral areas are the ones that are suffering the most from this circumstance; and over time this situation has become more serious and at present in area IV there are at least 25% of the medical posts between primary care and hospital missing. This shortage of doctors has been transmitted repeatedly through the bureaucratic channels available to those responsible for the SMS, however the situation does not improve and worsens over time.
For this reason, from the CESM concentrations have been convened both at the door of the hospital and at the health centers in area IV every Thursday. The demands are: that an urgent solution be given to patients who are waiting to be treated and there is currently no specialist who can meet these needs; They sit down to negotiate and define the areas and positions of difficult coverage in order to alleviate the medical deficit that exists and that they begin to work on a human resources plan, to be able to have well dimensioned the medical staff as well as their service portfolios proportional.
“This situation – they affirm from the union – not only affects the professionals themselves but also directly influences the fact that health care can be affected in quality and patient safety, as well as in the expected delays that may be generated; we want it to reach the SMS, the Ministry of Health and, if necessary, the regional government ”.
The health workers in area IV want to know the significant healthcare overload to which they are subjected and the feeling of helplessness generated by seeing that no one watches over their mental health, their work well-being and that the daily effort they make to properly attend to the population of our Area is not valued either. “It is our duty – they affirm – to do our work, for which we have a vocation, but it is the duty of the Administration that it be done in the right conditions. In this sense, it would be of great help if the need for personnel in each of the SMS areas was evaluated objectively and transparently and that the distribution of health personnel was carried out based on these objective criteria (hospitalized patients / doctor ratio, consultations / doctor, tests / doctor) and no other more questionable.
As data that reflects this situation, they have referred to a loss associated with pregnancy in the Pulmonology Service that could not be covered, leaving a single physician as the sole person responsible for the consultation activity, complementary tests and hospitalization for months, when in the rest of the SMS Pulmonology Services the number of physicians is more than high in proportion to our area, and despite this they «continue to grow». There is a successive waiting list of around 800 patients, awaiting a review by Pulmonology. This not only affects Pulmonology, but also affects other services that depend on them, such as Cardiology or Internal Medicine and mainly affects the population. There are currently two neurologists in a situation of reduced working hours due to family conciliation, out of a structural staff of four neurologists.
He is in the same situation in Internal Medicine, with a deficient structural staff. There would also be a lack of a specialist in Clinical Microbiology; there is only one pathologist and three radiologists. In the Anesthesiology Service they have had a structural deficit of at least two Physicians for years.
“We feel forgotten – they lament – but, above all, we are concerned about the repercussions on the health of the 75,000 inhabitants of our area, there is clearly a comparative grievance with respect to the inhabitants of the rest of the health areas. Faced with pathologies responsible for the majority of deaths in our country such as cardiovascular events, cerebrovascular disease, cancer or respiratory disease, they are diagnosed and treated with much more delay in our centers compared to other health areas, precisely due to this overload ».
«With all the above – they conclude – we request that the Administration immediately take the necessary measures to be able to guarantee adequate coverage of the number of doctors needed throughout the area and to value in the short term the establishment of measures to favor the interest of the Physicians for exercising their profession in area IV, such as compensation for displacement, labor flexibility or bonuses in the public employment exchanges ”.
Response of the Murcian Health Service
From the Murcian Health Service they point out that “being aware of the difficulties to guarantee continuity of care in the most peripheral areas due to the lack of health personnel, the contracts and / or coverage of these areas are prioritized.”
Also that the Murcian Health Service has given a timely response to the needs of personnel for the provision of health care during the pandemic. «In fact, at the highest peak, 263 contracts have been reached for physicians, 1,425 for nurses and 2,481 for the rest of the staff, which amounts to 4,169 between February 2020 and January 2021. Currently the global reinforcement is about 12 percent. “
Finally, they recall that currently the number of infections and hospitalized people has been drastically reduced in the Region, with an incidence that is one of the lowest in Spain.
Finally: “an important reinforcement is planned for our health system, taking into account the structural deficit of physicians throughout the national health system.”