“If we don’t stop it, in two years we will be like Madrid”


The public health of Catalonia will go on strike every day January 25 and 26. Last week, the Metges de Catalunya (MC) union summoned 25,000 doctors from the first aid and of hospitals participate in the “start-up” of a “uninterrupted cycle of mobilizations”. A few days later they joined eight other unions (among them, Infermeres de Catalunya) other health profiles, such as nurses, assistants, psychologists or administrators.

The main reasons are the care overload, the bad work conditions and a not so rosy future in which they foresee retreats which cannot be covered because doctors and nurses are missing. Madrid, marked in recent weeks by strikes by doctors and massive demonstrations supported by a large majority of citizens, ended up give the last blow to Catalan doctors.

The ‘counsellor’ of Health, Manel Balcells, hopes to reach an agreement with the unions to avoid unemployment. But disaffection among the collective is evident. Since 2006 there has not been a call for a strike of this caliber in Catalonia, since that of 2018 which affected primary care only. EL PERIÓDICO speaks with doctors and nurses who will mobilize in January. What’s at stake in the end, these toilets warn, is the “security” users of the public health.

A primary school psychiatrist: “You work with the feeling that you are not making progress”

Jose Manuel Lopez is psychiatrist adult health center (CSMA) Santa Coloma (Barcelona), where he works 35 hours per week. In addition, he goes one day a week to the primary care center (CAP) of the area, as part of the primary support program. And do 24-hour guards at Hospital del Mar and at age 17 at the Emili Mira Center, a psychiatric hospital in Santa Coloma.

“Those of us in community psychiatry are asking do not work 24-hour shifts at sea and that an emergency assistant be hired. so that we can visit one more day at the CSMA. Before there were, but not since the cuts”, explains this 46-year-old psychiatrist. retreats of the CSMA in recent years have not been amortized. at the moment there is five psychiatrists on staff, but they only work beef, since one of them is on leave and another is gone. “We are three psychiatrists doing the work of five.”

There are the patients in the CSMA that have not yet been visited since August 31, the day the second doctor started to be absent. “When they complain, we give them an official response. We take care of those who do not need an income by telephone, make them part of our agenda, although that means doing more reports and recipes”, said Lopez.

In recent years, the demand “has increased a lot”. This psychiatrist treats patients who have tried suicide, who were treated at the time in hospital emergency rooms but who could not be seen at the CSMA “until three months later.”

“I feel absolutely blown away, with the feeling that you’re not going anywhere, that what you do you do wrong. Right now, if I want to visit a critically ill patient once a month, it’s early February,” he says. “I like what I do, but in decent conditions.” López regrets that in the end, “decline in quality and accessibility” from the patient to the system. “And many end up going private.”

An anesthetist: “It’s the chronicle of an announced death”

“This strike is a sickness There are many years of requests that they have not been heard speak Administration”. Speak Irene Bermel, 44 years old and anesthetist at Bellvitge Hospital (Hospitalet de Llobregat).

Although he now has a place, Bermell knows what it is precarious work “I suffered 11 years of acting, which implies not being entitled to supplements. I didn’t have a place in the property because calls were not made I had it a few years ago. I am a poor reflection of the precariousness that still exists”, Explain.

Bermell chained prospective contracts which ultimately lasted, as a whole, “five or six years”. “Five-month contracts… In August, they fired you and hired you in September. And I’m a medical specialist,” she says. She works 40 hours per week (“earning less than in other communities where they don’t work those hours”) and working overtime “because there is a lack of professionals. This lack of toilets, he says, is “more obvious” in primary school, but hospital specialists, he warns, “are not too numerous either”. There are uncovered professional leave, also in centers of great complexity such as Bellvitge, he assures.

“People leave outside because in centers that are not the Institut Català de la Salut (ICS), they find better conditions remuneration and the cost of care”, complains this anesthesiologist. She’s calling back 2006 strike, when the doctors demanded something “similar” to what is now. “It’s the chronicle of an announced death. If we don’t stop in two or three years Catalonia will be the same as Madrid”.

A family doctor: “What matters most to us is to provide quality medicine, not the salary”

Patricia Diez-Cascon, family doctor from CAPE Rio de Janeiro of Barcelona, ​​ensures that public health in Catalonia is “in decline” for 13 years. “We work with a lot of care pressure, there are many visitors. Hardly anyone stops for a coffee. You usually leave an hour later,” He says. He is 41 years old.

the “charge” it is part of everyday life. Face-to-face visits, but also e-consultations and telephone listening take over from the usual day. “Sometimes it is very difficult to approach.” The first aid, Right now, he’s doing health checkups on chronic patients that he hasn’t been able to do for the past two years because of covid-19.

“It’s very difficult respect the timetables, the patients warm up, then you have to serve them in six minutes. We suffer a lot for patient safety, in case we miss things.” Count Diez-Cascón. For this reason, like his colleagues, he understands that many people go to work abroad. “The agreement of the last strike is not respected [la de la primaria de 2018]which sets a maximum of 28 patients per doctor per day,” he complains.

Quotas are not respected either. Without a family doctor, there would have to be a quota of 1,200 or 1,400 patients to provide “quality care”, many of them have quotas up to 2,200, double that. “The main thing is not the salary, but to make quality medicine. We want to regain the health that we had because many people take out private insurance,” complaints.

A primary school nurse: “We suffer more verbal aggression from patients”

“I don’t think we are neither more nor better valued after the pandemic. I think we are all very tired and The level of empathy has gone down a lot.” He says it Nuria Guirado, 41-year-old nurse at CAP Piera (Barcelona). “Much more is asked of us than we can give, but if we do not give it, it is not because we are less prepared, but because we are who we are.”

This nurse complains that some patients continue to go to the CAP ask for a doctor, where nurses can do a lot of work independently. “In recent months, I have suffered several verbal attacks. They’re trying to get to us more aggressive, And that worries me a lot,” he said.

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The nursing community suffers from a “very difficult time” like the rest of public health. Guirado insists on the lack of doctors, but also of nurses. “And we must continue assuming all the chronicity, Home Care, Community Nursing, In addition to all this volume of unplanned visits due to the increase in cases of flu, colds and bronchiolitis,” he explains.

“We are very burnt out.” She, she says, is going to go on strike because she wants the group she is part of to get “social recognition”, that the citizen knows “what a nurse does” and that this is a profession “independent” of that of the doctor. “We want to be remunerated economically in the category A1. And, from a legal point of view, that we are recognized for the powers that we have exercised for years, such as the nurse’s prescription, ditch.

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