Monica Garcia’s double standards with resident doctors

The Covid pandemic meant that in 2020, specialists in training began their internship in September instead of June, as usual. That is why this summer there will be one less promotion of doctors from the different categories.In the field of Primary Care (which includes family doctors and pediatricians) it is estimated that there are More than 1,700 residents will finish their training in September instead of June.

Although the situation had been known since 2020, as primary care societies had been warning about the shortage that would occur this summer, health authorities did not implement any tangible solution in time.

As expected, the issue came to the fore a few months ago. The current situation caused by the pandemic was compounded by the structural shortcomings of the first tier of healthcare, where, in addition to a lack of financial resources, there is a shortage of professionals. According to primary care medical societies, our country needs between 6,000 and 10,000 family specialists and pediatricians.

The Ministry of Health estimated the number at 4,500, and noted that staff numbers are 10% below than would be necessary to meet demand. Their numbers were based on the “Report on the need for specialist doctors in Spain 2023-2035”, which they commissioned from researchers at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Given the concern of health officials in most autonomous communities that the lack of professionals would force them to close health centres and hospital beds –This summer, 10,000 fewer will be operational, according to the nursing union Satse–, the department he heads Monica Garcia responded with apathypointing out that it was “the responsibility of the autonomous regions to plan staff and contingency plans for the summer” and that most regions “had not shared them” when they were requested.

Save the summer

And that’s where the “war” to save the summer began. In response to the request of the PP regions to allow the 1,716 fourth-year MIRs, with unfinished training, to join hospitals and health centres to provide consultations under supervision, The Ministry of Health initially responded that under no circumstances could the residency period be shortened or MIRs allowed to act as specialists because this would mean breaking the law..

However, a few days later, on June 11, he sent a letter to the autonomous communities in which he cited Law 44/2003, of November 21, on the Regulation of Health Professions (LOPS) and Royal Decree 183/2008 –which develops it– to emphasize that “these principles include the progressive assumption of responsibilities by residents and a decreasing level of supervision as they advance in their training.

In the specific case of Family and Community Medicine, the training program establishes that fourth-year residents must be able to independently and completely handle a consultation, without the presence of a tutor, although with the possibility of turning to him in case of doubt or complex situations.”

An opening of criteria that fits more with the attitudes that they have previously had with the MIRs at very sensitive times for Spain.

And it is that, As LA RAZÓN reported in March 2020, Salvador Illa’s Ministry of Health allowed three residents to participate in the preparation of important technical reports prepared at the dawn of the Covid pandemic.

The documents were prepared by the Health Alerts and Emergencies Coordination Centre (Ccaes), linked to the General Secretariat of Health and Consumption and the General Directorate of Public Health, Quality and Innovation of the Ministry of Health, and are dated March 6, one week before the first state of alarm was declared.

((H2:Residents setting the tone)

These reports were intended to serve as a guide for, for example, the autonomous communities, but also for scientific societies and doctors with many years of experience. The three trainees who participated were from the Preventive Medicine and Public Health specialties. And this was not the only time that resident doctors appeared among the signatories of key reports and documents, which the ministry was later quick to eliminate.

This is just an example of the double standards with which the Health Department, now and before, takes a position on certain issues as it suits it.

The difficult situation due to the lack of primary care professionals that will be experienced especially in coastal areas and tourist places in our country this summer has already been anticipated by the State Confederation of Medical Unions (CESM), which predicts that doctors will have to double shifts and work many extra hours to guarantee assistance.