A tide of white coats bathes Barcelona in defense of public health


Some 9,500 doctors, according to the mossos, both hospitals like primary care centers (CAP), seconded the hit this Wednesday and they demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Health for the defense of public health. This mobilization is in addition to the one that took place in Plaça de Sant Jaume. There, in the heart of Barcelona, ​​public teachers and other health profiles (nurses, assistants) also demonstrated, bringing together about 6,500 people. The doctors preferred to demonstrate on their own. And so, between the two mobilizations, approximately 15,000 civil service workers ceased today to denounce the degradation of the two fundamental pillars of the Welfare state: public health and education.

The mobilization of doctors, called by the Union Metges de Catalunya (MC) and which had a festive and vindictive character, was the second major public health strike for the past four years in Catalonia. In 2018, primary school doctors had already mobilized, but this time those from hospitals also joined. and handle similar patterns to those who fought four years ago: impossible schedules Yes improved working conditions. Little progress has been made since. In the midst of a strike and from Parliament, the Health ‘advisor’, Manel Balcells, He proposed a “national pact” to protect the health system.

“We are here to support quality public health”, pointed to this log Rocio Sanchez, CAP Sarrià nurse. Although it was a demonstration by doctors, Sánchez criticized the fact that health workers made separate demonstrations. “We are all sanitary and We all have the same problem.” explained to this newspaper.

“Mental health is fundamental” or “Aragonès, pay more” are some of the slogans that were heard in the demonstration of white coats this Wednesday, which will continue tomorrow from 10 a.m. in the Plaza de Sant Jaume. On Friday at 12 p.m., the union, employers and Salut will resume talks to come to an agreement and try to cancel the strike also scheduled for February 1, 2 and 3.

The “Conselleria” accuses the union of having “red line” pay: doctors, according to Hi, claim the direct award of a salary supplement about pay, something what should happen before a negotiation table. The union, however, ensures that its red line is care: calls for a limitation of doctors’ schedules, while the department is committed to self-organization.

Allocation in the CAP

While the doctors, who came from other Catalan towns like Girona, They demonstrated in front of the headquarters of Salut, went down the Rambla de Brasil and went to the train station (to symbolize the exodus of professionals), some primary care centers (CAP), such as the North Raval or Drassanes blamed the lack of professionals. There were empty waiting rooms and even saturated emergency rooms (in the case of Raval Nord), where patients were piling up in a day of strikes followed, according to Metges de Catalunya, by 75% of its doctors (about 30% according to Salut).

“We are on strike improve our work. Improve the training of the inhabitants: they use us as a workforce”, he assured for his part. Roser Terms, Surgery MIR in the hospital clinic from Barcelona. “The MIRs we work a lot, many hours and we fill in the gaps for attending physicians, specialist positions because there is no staff”, added this young woman of 29 years. The lack of staff and, in particular, of nurses is what has left the Covid Moisès Broggi (Sant Joan Despí) hospital empty and without patients, and with 56 unused ucis beds.

He denounced the same Martin Quintana, an MIR internist in the Doctor of the Trueta Hospital in Girona that this Wednesday was planted in Barcelona for “to claim dignity”. “The MIRs are exploited. Our hours are loosely regulated. For example, the other day I had 38 people in a single morning in my office”, Quintana complains.

Lack of staff

Lack of staff is the main problem of the public health system, not only in Catalonia, but throughout Europe. In the next few years, a whole family will retire. generation of doctors for which there is no replacement because it was not well planned. This is something that the union denounced again on Wednesday.

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“Today here we are the same [9.500 médicos] who will retire in Catalonia in the next decade”, said the general secretary of Metges de Catalunya, Xavier Leonart, already from Sants station. For the union, participation was “spectacular”. Reading the manifesto, Lleonart accused the Department of Health of “Make the health system a factory where the quality of care takes second place” and pointed out that today the doctors “have said enough”.

In Ciutadella, they continued the medical mobilization. From Parliament, in full protest, the ‘counsellor’ of Health, Manel Balcells, launched a proposal to remedy the “armor” of the health system: a national pact to deal with the model, financing and the main challenges ahead. Balcells has advanced to all groups that will receive the formal invitation to get involved in this debate just as the called strike ends. The doctors will go to Parliament tomorrow, around 12 o’clock and coming from Sant Jaume, to claim their rights again.

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