“There is no adequate healthcare”; “it is a fatigue that comes from many years of deterioration”; “It was a constant feeling of not arriving, of leaving things for you, with great fear of making a mistake.” Madrid doctors face the second wave of coronavirus even with fear in the body of the collapse of the previous one and given the lack of budget and the excessive healthcare burden, some are planted and renounce their contracts: “better not to work than to do it this way shape”.
While cases and deaths from coronavirus do not stop in Spain (with more than 615,000 infected and 30,200 deaths), Madrid captures all eyes with almost a third of all those affected.
With the option of applying a new confinement, health centers, with 20% of them closed, cannot withstand the pressure of care and every day they are reduced more by the losses due to COVID of the professionals themselves.
In the midst of this storm, dozens of toilets they have been giving up drip, faced with the mental and physical exhaustion of facing daily long lists of telephone numbers of patients, who can only be referred for a test to detect the disease, while they are forced to put aside other pathologies.
“We have lists of one hundred calls a day, professionals end up randomly choosing who they call and who not, without knowing what they are leaving, it is very desperate and it is very scary not to meet the needs of the population,” Dr. Isa emphasizes to EFE Kennedy, who has not worked since August.
Primary care meets 80% of a person’s care needs throughout their life, despite this and despite the fact that it was already known that the second wave of coronavirus would have to be stopped by these professionals, “it has not been done nothing “to equip her with tools.
It is the opinion of Lucía Gutiérrez, a primary school physician, who resigned but is putting up loose weeks of employment to help her colleagues.
“The primary has not been strengthened at all, there have been no measures and the situation has not improvedAfter the first wave, all the work of care, contacts, follow-up … we have been doing it since primary school, “he complains.
Gutiérrez, who resigned after the first wave “because the situation was unsustainable”, denounces that the toilets are experiencing “a saturation” that entails episodes of “anxiety and a lot of frustration”: “we were not being able to provide assistance, it touched me on a personal level and I made the decision to resign. “
Diego Lobo, another family doctor from the Madrid health system, who has already resigned at the time, expresses himself in the same vein, but who, given the increase in the healthcare burden in recent weeks, has accepted some contracts for days.
Lobo considers that there is a “historical problem” that has caused that primary care “due to the deterioration that has been taking place, is being less attractive to new doctors, even people who want to do it but the conditions that exist are not ideal and they end looking for other ways “.
This health system points to three keys so that Spanish primary care, which from 2009 to 2018 received 13.10% less budget according to Amnesty International, becomes a reference again.
“There is a lack of money and not only has to invest more in health but in primary because most of them go to hospitals”, analyzes Lobo, who also believes that it is necessary to renovate existing health centers as well as build new ones.
Becoming a doctor in Spain is a demanding path before you start to travel it. The grades required to study the career are among the highest in higher education, and after this come six years of training and four years of practice.
After this, Spanish doctors are waiting for contracts for months, weeks or even days. But those who resign do not do so because of their working conditions but because of the “intolerable” situation of care.
It is the analysis of Jas McGhie, also a family doctor, who since June has not accepted any job offer because “I needed to take distance to analyze how they are working and what changes are necessary.”
McGhie refers to national data that reveal that the Community of Madrid has six health centers for every 100,000 inhabitants, ranking at the bottom only surpassed (negatively) by Ceuta and Melilla, the two territories that Spain has on the African continent that have four.
This professional criticizes that at this time the Community is “dismantling” public health.
“We feel the brutal arrope on the part of the population and it is quite clear what the private sector does in a crisis: close doors and later claim the losses,” he complains.
Something that in his opinion is supported by the administration: “we need a strong public service, but also an administration that takes account of it, not a Community of Madrid that what it does is outsource and divert public funds to the private sector.”
Kennedy agrees with his partner and recalls that “at this very vulnerable moment in which people are very afraid for their health, it is very easy to do business with it.”
“The number of people who undergo tests in private centers because they are very afraid is a perfect opportunity to take advantage and privatize the system,” he warns.
Faced with the conditions, the health sector demands decent conditions: on September 28 a strike is called in Madrid and several dozen professionals are organized under the YoRenuncio movement so that individual casualties do not go unnoticed.
“It’s not easy at all to quit, I like my job, I think it makes a difference but the only way we have found to have an effect and that the function of primary care returns, is by not working”, shares resigned McGhie.
The movement that has not yet made its demands public, is considering resigning collectively to denounce the conditions in which they work and patients are treated.
“Given that there are many people who are resigning in isolation because they are getting tired individually and there are fewer and fewer people, we are talking about a collective resignation, which is nothing more than a reflection of a fatigue that does not come from now but from many years of deterioration, “says Lobo.
Concerned about the image that the profession may give at such a difficult time, they explain that everyone wants to “do everything possible in this situation, which is when it is most needed”: “it is when you feel most useful and when you feel most that you can do for the people and you like that job, but to what extent you can “.
For Kennedy, communication between health workers and the population will be “crucial” to save primary care.
Thus, he makes a call to citizens: “Surely the population can understand our situation, but there is an active intention to try to block that communication, that it is understood and that the population knows what is happening.”