“Family doctors on Ibiza and Formentera are the worst off in Spain”, denounces Carlos Rodríguez Ribas, spokesman for the Balearic Islands Medical Union in the Pitiusas, at the gates of the old Can Misses. He and Toni Pallicer, also from the union, accompany this statement with data: “The Spanish average is 1,380 patients per family doctor, in the Balearic Islands this figure is 1,800 and on Ibiza and Formentera each primary care physician serves 2,200”. “We are overwhelmed, overloaded. We have an excessive workload. We ask to balance the ratio of doctor per patient a little,” he continues.
“It is an outrage,” says Rodriguez, who says that the only way to reduce this indicator is to hire more family doctors. The Simebal demands that the Ministry of Health increase the staff of the health centers by 30 doctors. The Conselleria, explain the unionists, has granted eight, so according to the calculations they have made, in September 22 will still be missing. “Assuming that the population does not continue to grow,” qualifies Rodriguez Ribas, who says that, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE) the population of the Pitiusas since 2000 has increased “more than 75%” while it has only been “12% in Spain and 30% in all of the Balearic Islands”. The union assures that it has calculated the number of family doctors that are missing in the Pitiusas according to this increase in population. “The reality is this and we have to correct it,” he insists before delivering a letter to the Conselleria in which they denounce this situation and that 96% of the doctors of the health centers of the Pitiusas have signed. “69 of the 72 doctors who were on staff on June 7th have signed. Also eleven primary care residents and three pediatricians. This means that people are very tired,” says Pallicer, who points out that in Mallorca the adhesion of professionals has been somewhat lower, 90%. “We are not asking for more money, we are asking for better conditions,” he insists before entering Can Misses, which prevented the media from capturing images of the moment.
In the document they presented yesterday they demand a maximum of 25 patients scheduled daily and to be able to manage it themselves to avoid more patients by added by “forcing gaps”, as they claim is happening now: “At the beginning of the morning you have 25 patients and you end up attending 40 or 50. This is unacceptable, absolutely unmanageable and worsens the quality of care.” The union recognises that can only be done by hiring more doctors.
Aware of the difficulty of attracting professionals to the Pitiusas, the document asks Health to extend the loyalty measures to residents, with the aim that, once their training is completed, they stay here. That is to say, to offer them a contract before the end – “neither temporary nor interim”- and to call for competitive examinations on a constant basis. “The recruitment must be imaginative”, defends Rodriguez, who reminds the Govern that if it declares the Pitiusas as “areas of difficult coverage” it would have “the power to create a series of improvements” to make the contracts more attractive, both from an economic point of view as well as “advantages” in terms of seniority or score in competitive examinations.
More waiting, more emergencies for family doctors
The lack of family doctors in health centers has a negative impact on patient care, some of whom have to wait more than a week for an appointment with their family doctor. This is especially true for physicians with a high percentage of elderly people with multiple pathologies. In the same way, Pallicer warned of the situation in the health center of Santa Eulària: “It is the one that has grown the most in number of health cards and is very saturated”.
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