It will have the status of an agency and will improve coordination with the EU, the autonomous communities and scientific and academic societies
"Good news". This is how the Spanish doctors have greeted the launch of the State Center for Public Health, which was approved on Tuesday by the Council of Ministers and which will have the status of a state agency to guarantee its independence. This was expressed in statements to this newspaper by the president of the General Council of Medical Associations, Tomás Cobo from Cantabria, who underlined the importance of the new body operating outside of politics and with scientific criteria because, in his opinion, it is what will give it «credibility, prestige, leadership and legitimacy. That is the key, that he be able to give opinions based on science and not on the chance of politics, ”says the president of the Spanish doctors.
Cobo recalled that agencies such as the one approved this Tuesday (the Spanish one will be known by the acronym Aesap) already work in countries such as Germany or the United Kingdom and in the Spanish case it was a legal mandate that was already included in the 2011 Public Health Law. For the president of the Collegiate Medical Organization of Spain, in addition to being independent and in coordination with the health organizations of the EU, the agency must work along three lines: the study of chronic communicable diseases and the risk factors that they associate with them to establish common public health plans; the immediate response and knowledge of the health alarms that may be generated, some already known such as covid, monkeypox, Ebola or listeria; and the establishment of "efficient and useful policies within the 17 health systems that we have."
The anesthesiologist from Santander gave an expressive example in this regard: "If a hospital is going to buy the best surgical robot in the world, it is good that there is an independent agency that tells it that this site may not be the most suitable." In his view, the agency must ensure that health systems work with "maximum efficiency" because sometimes "it falls into giant technological investments aimed at pure assistance, in deterioration of our public and free universal model."
For Cobo, the final location of the agency is not important. "For me to come to Cantabria," she points out with a smile. Several communities, such as Aragon or the Valencian Community, have already offered to host it. «The important thing is not the location, but the money with which it is going to be endowed, how many people are going to be there and who is there, in addition to prestige; keep your independence.
"A decisive step"
The Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, has insisted this Monday at the end of the Council of Ministers that has approved the Aesap, that the agency will allow responding to the threats and risks that arise in our country for public health. "It is a decisive step," said Darías, who stressed that the center will improve coordination with the EU and the autonomous communities, as well as with scientific and academic societies. Endowed in these first steps with just over nine million euros, the center will have "technical excellence" and will function as a state network that will monitor not only pandemics, but also chronic pathologies, cancer, diabetes... those diseases that generate more mortality. The Aesap will also offer an early warning system to provide a rapid response to health emergencies and will improve information to the population about health risks and "in short, it will improve public health in our country."