Medical Attrition in the Province

Not only leading up to the General elections did Mariano Rajoy promise that he wouldn’t make any cuts to Education or Health, but he reiterated the pledge upon reaching power. However, he was soon to go back on his battered word.

Take the province of Granada where 90 doctors and four operating theatres have been slashed from the public health system. But the cuts have come indirectly from Madrid because the Junta de Andalucia is ultimately responsible for Health and Education within its autonomous region. The socialist Regional Government puts the blame on the squeeze from Madrid and Madrid blames the previous socialist government and Brussels.

In the General Hospital, La Virgen de las Nieves in Granada (previously known as the Ruiz de Alda) it is a daily struggle between diminished staff and indignant patients when it comes to receiving radio-diagnostics. “The service is collapsed,” pointed out one of the staff, who complained bitterly that while politicians made the cuts, it was the ‘poor sanitary staff’ that took the brunt of citizens displeasure, because they are the ones in contact with the patients. “We’re on the front line,” she complained, explaining that, “people don’t realise that the delays in obtaining an X-ray, Ultrasound Scan, CAT Scan or Magnetic Resonance are not our fault.” The said worker calls for people to leave their bad manners at home and instead fill in a complaint form rather than berating or insulting them.

During the month of October, on average, four operating room appointments are cancelled every day. An operating theatre for Traumatology, for example, has been closed on a daily basis. The Maternity Hospital has one surgery fewer for Gynecology and infant surgery.

All this has come about since the 1st of September when all the casual work contracts were renewed but only at 75% or less of a working day. Temporary vacancies left by staff on pregnancy leave are not being filled, either. So you have the situation where the remaining doctors have to take on the workload of the missing staff, meaning that they can’t even attend their own patients adequately.

Over in Hosital El Clínico the hospital is still without a director because the last one resigned and the vacancy has not been filled. They have 85 doctors on casual contracts at 75%, meaning that each has 21 full shifts fewer than normal.

Down at Motril’s Santa Ana, one surgeon has got the chop whilst in traumatology two work contracts at 100% have been replaced by two at 50%, which is equivalent to losing 50% of the team. Both Almuñécar and Motril have been deprived of one child doctor each…

What is obvious is that the quality of medical assistance is rapidly going down hill and the once admirable Spanish public health system is being hacked to pieces by drastic cuts whilst the top-heavy burden of politicians receiving salaries and perks remains almost intact.

(News: Granada, Andalucia)