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Catalan public health physicians will go on strike on January 25th and 26th

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  • Denounces the “disaffection” of the staff, while demanding better pay and planning for the 9,000 retirements of the coming years

The physicians throughout the public health system of Catalonia will go to the strike the January 25 and 26. It has not been enough that the ‘conseller’ de Salut, Manel Balcells, announced two weeks ago in the Parliament a billion more from the Budget for his department. Nor that he has committed himself to allocate to primary education, “in two or three years”, the 25% of the total funds of Salut, as recommended by the WHO. Doctors want facts and not promises and, thus, unless an agreement is reached before then, on January 25 and 26 will be the “home” of a “uninterrupted cycle of mobilizations”. to protest the “disaffection” of health care workers (aggravated by the covid-19 pandemic) and the “null capacity to capture and retain the new generations of physicians”.

He announced this Monday at noon Metges de Catalunya (MC), the syndicate which is calling this strike to which are called some 25,000 family and hospital doctors throughout the territory, both from the Catalan Health Institute (ICS) and from the subsidized system. That is, all those who work in the Sistema Sanitari Integral d’Utilització Pública (Siscat), in the public system. 10 years ago since Catalonia had called a strike of this caliber, as the one in 2018 was only of primary care physicians. The union demands, mainly, to plan for the 9,000 retirements in the coming years and salary improvements to help attract talent.

“The public healthcare system has some very serious shortcomings which have been accentuated by the pandemic. And now, post-pandemic, we don’t see anything being done to recover the necessary levels,” says the secretary general of MC, Xavier Lleonart. Lleonart trusts that the strike will be massively followed, because “people are pushing harder and harder” for the union to convene it. “There is a lot of unrest and the sanitary workers are very burned out. There are those who tell us that we should have convened earlier.”

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Madrid “makes you feel like it”.

The drums of strike had been beating for weeks in the Catalan healthcare system. The massive mobilizations of Madrid have finished pushing the Catalan doctors, who have been accusing for years a great overload of care (especially in primary care) and poor working conditions. Another major concern in the face of the Next batch of retirements. of baby boomers that will not be covered because there are no physicians. The latter is also the case in other countries in Europe, such as France and Germany, but many Spanish doctors go to work there because the conditions are better.

“We have sufficient grounds to go on strike without looking at anyone else. But to see that there are comrades from other communities that are mobilizing makes us want to strike even more, Lleonart points out, who also qualifies that. January 25 and 26 “will be the first days”. of strike, so this, if they do not reach an agreement with the Conselleria de Salut before, could be extended. “We will be planning and convening on function of whether there is more or less sensitivity on the part of the Management.” notes the secretary general of MC.

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The petitions

MC ensures that all claims which formulate are a “helicopter re rescue” to ensure the survival of the system. One of the most serious problems is the lack of medical professionals. In Catalonia, some 9,000 in the coming years. “The replacement of this generation of physicians will not be possible if working conditions and remuneration are not improved.” assures the union. “It is not true that there are no professionals. There are no professionals who want to work with the conditions overload, undervaluation and precariousness. offered in the public health system,” he adds. Catalonia is, according to this trade union, the community with more requests for certificates of suitability. (1,163 in 2021) to work abroad.

Specifically, Metges de Catalunya demands to improve the. conditions of primary care. In the last MIR call, 71 family and community medicine vacancies were left vacant in Catalonia, although after a second extraordinary process there were 14. “The 50, 60 or 80 daily visits that family physicians make, with five minutes or less to attend to each patient, are the worst advertising in the face of training new specialists,” says the union.

Thus, MC calls for a pay increases, improve the payment of guards, regulate rest breaks according to European institutions, conduct studies every two years of workloads, or include the continuing medical education as part of the working day, among other measures.

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