Juan Francisco Moreno has been in the Radiology service of the Reina Sofía for a week. He chose this specialty after the MIR exam because he likes it, but also because he knows there will be work when he finishes his specialized training period. Hospitals, especially regional ones, suffer from a growing deficit of radiologists, as well as anesthetists. “I would like to stay in the Region, and what attracts me the most is interventional radiology,” Juan Francisco explained this Monday on the Espinardo campus, while waiting for the start of the reception ceremony for the new class of residents, chaired by the counselor of Health, Juan José Pedreño.
In total, 388 doctors, nurses, pharmacists and psychologists -among other health workers- are joining hospitals and health centers in the Region of Murcia these days. They are 6.3% more than last year, highlighted Pedreño. Specifically, 23 more places. Throughout Spain, the increase is 5.4%. The Ministry of Health and the communities have stepped on the accelerator in recent years to create new positions with which to deal, above all, with the shortage of doctors: the Ministry accrediting the positions, and the communities expanding the teaching capacity. In the Region, Family Medicine grew from 89 to 94 positions, Anesthesia from 12 to 15, and General Surgery from 8 to 9.
This increase, however, is still insufficient to face the massive retirements of the coming years, admits the Ministry itself, which has been demanding more flexible criteria for some time in order to further increase the teaching offer. Pedreño highlighted this Monday that all the places offered in this call have been occupied in the Region of Murcia, something that has not happened in all communities. “Throughout Spain there are more than 200 unfilled Family Medicine positions,” he warned. This should lead to reflection. “Something must be done to encourage professionals to want to go to Primary,” he warned.
If in Medicine the problem is the shortage of professionals, in Nursing the challenge is to increase the number of EIR (intern resident nurse) positions and to develop, in this sense, the different specialties. In Family and Community Nursing, 53 positions have been offered, and there are 15 for midwives. Laura Muñoz and Marta Díaz are two of the nurses who have been occupying these positions since last week. «I studied to be a midwife and I am very excited; I am looking forward to seeing patients », she confesses. “There are very few specialties in Nursing, and with few places,” complains, on her part, María Caballero, who has started Occupational Nursing at the Reina Sofía.
There are still fewer places for biologists or biochemists. José Baeza was number 30 in all of Spain in the BIR exam (resident internal biologists), which has allowed him to keep one of the two places offered in the Region. Specifically, in Microbiology of La Arrixaca.
Three-year contracts for new family doctors
The Murcian Health Service (SMS) is in the process of recruiting those who completed the specialized training period in May. As already announced, the new family doctors are being offered an interim contract for three years. Part of the 111 new Family Medicine positions created in compliance with the pact signed at the end of last year by the Ministry of Health and the Medical Union (Cesm) have already gone public. This agreement put an end to the protests in Primary, which had led to a strike announcement. The SMS is confident that these new positions and the conditions offered will be attractive enough to retain MIRs who have just finished Family Medicine in the Region. However, the Minister of Health, Juan José Pedreño, admitted on Monday that the deficit of professionals is still there, which makes it difficult to replace doctors who go on vacation this summer. Asked about the closure of clinics -something that happens every summer- Pedreño explained that they are working on summer planning, and stressed that the assistance services on the coast will be reinforced. As for the rest of the doctors who finish their period of specialized training, Pedreño pointed out that their hiring in regional hospitals is being prioritized, since they are the centers that suffer the most from the lack of doctors.
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