“The system has collapsed,” stated Madrid-based pediatrician Natividad Gil García. “In the following two weeks, even if we continue to do this, then it will surely sink.”
Gil doesn’t conceal her grief over the catastrophe that primary health care is affected in Madrid, the worst-affected area in Spain with over 175,000 COVID-19 infections because of the start of the pandemic and nearly 9,000 deaths, including 115 in the previous week.
She works in the Monóvar Public Health Care Center, situated in a neighborhood in which the accumulative prevalence is up to over 400 cases per 100,000 individuals.
Although different areas of the town are enrolling nearly double that figure, Gil warns of this rapidly worsening problem.
“Ordinarily, in September and October I was used to getting between 20 and 30 kids each day, but this year I am currently having 55 though some year classes have not been back to college,” she explained.
Health employees on strike
What’s going to occur by at the close of the month when most of the pupils have gone to college and infections grow?” Asks the pediatrician in the entry to her office, beneath a banner using a green center, which has been the sign of a struggle to safeguard public health.
Gil and her 30 colleagues in the center have affirmed the 15-minute attack called by numerous marriages in reaction to what they believe”the abandonment and contempt for caregivers” from the Madrid authorities.
“That it’s our last resort, not one of us needs to go on an indefinite strike as it means placing lives in danger,” said María Teresa Hernando, a family physician at Monóvar. “Our job is to assist the most vulnerable individuals, but we don’t have the tools to achieve that.”
Healthcare centers have been on the frontline of comprising the outbreak, an extra burden to some simple pillar of maintenance that at Madrid has escalated since the financial meltdown of 2008.
“The pressure we’re facing is enormous,” stated Julián Ezquerra, chief of the key unión representing primary care physicians in Madrid, Amyts, and promoter of this attack.
“In recent decades, the amount of patients per physician along with the waiver has skyrocketed. But today COVID-19 has exacerbated the workload, so some physicians can have around four or three patients called in at precisely the same time slot by telephone calls, face-to-face visits, crises, or house care. It is crazy.
Madrid needs more physicians. Half of the recently-qualified family physicians have chosen to depart Madrid, either to other autonomous areas or overseas, as they’re provided better contracts”
Moreover, about 15 percent of this workforce is off work, most on account of the work-related strain scenario due to the pandemic or since they’re more than 60 years old and so have a higher risk of acute illness form COVID-19.
The dearth of physicians is preventing some medical centers from starting in the day.
“Yesterday they phoned us by a nearby gym,” said Hernando. “They had our help since there was only 1 physician there, he had been performing two changes in a row but he didn’t have sufficient time to see all of the patients or to speak to them on your telephone. They had been at risk of closure.”
Chronic diseases the parallel pandemic
The health employees in the Public Health Care Center recognize that COVID-19 occupies 80 percent of the time.
“We deal with all the cases which arrive, we also do the touch tracing since there are not enough people organize the PCR testing we create the calls to find the outcome and do all of the follow-ups. Everybody who’s in primary health care is experiencing this overload of work but also the sufferers too,” whines Gil.
To put it differently, the COVID-19 crisis has left many individuals suffering from other chronic health ailments with no medical attention.
“We have not learned anything in the first wave,” said Escobar”We’re calling for more info, more agreed procedures and COVID-free regions which will let us keep on functioning in the health centers.”
However, the simple fact that none of this was proposed and primary health care is in a state of meltdown means that once more we will be [placing ] patients in danger,” explains Escobar.
Hours before the public gym demonstration, the president of the Comunidad de Madrid (autonomous area of Madrid), Isabel Díaz Ayuso, declared that $80 million was reportedly invested in primary healthcare to improve working conditions and improve the workforce.
There needs to be a deep change across the whole national healthcare and the Comunidad de Madrid would like to lead this transformation,” ensured Ayuso at the regional meeting.
It’s a promise that, for now, has failed to convince family physicians.
“We have reached the end of the street. Some colleagues’ve given their lives in the battle against COVID. We do not want numbers or promises, we need actions,” stated Gil.
For now, the attack action is still intended to proceed.