Rosa Tejados, government official from Aragón, 36, left yesterday with a voluminous envelope of Teruel hospital, Bishop Polanco. "I have come to pick her up because as we have been left without a Rheumatology specialist, I will have to go to Zaragoza to see me and they have asked me to take her. I'll have to lose a day of work and do 350 kilometers between my car and back. And it's not just in this service: to have a resonance I had to wait a year and two months ". At his side, his co-worker Magdalena Pozos, 56, complained about the same thing: the short circuits that continue disappearances of medical specialists, who leave to other places in Spain, provoke in health care in Teruel, the second province with the lowest population density in Spain, nine Inhabitants per square kilometer. "I broke a bone in my foot and when I went to the surgery I found that we were quoted 55 in a morning, with what it was like to enter and leave. Even if they want to serve you better, they can not, "said Pozos.
The malaise for this reason met on Sunday in Teruel, a municipality of 35,000 inhabitants, 10,000 people, according to local police, in the well-known Plaza del Torico. A problem that the Government of Aragon is trying to alleviate with measures such as the largest public offer of employment in the history of its health service, 9,326 places, and incentives for professionals who agree to stay in places that are difficult to cover. Counteracting the shortage of doctors is, however, a problem that exceeds the autonomous community and affects almost all the territories of Spain, especially the interior, says a spokeswoman of the Department of Health, recalling the latest report of the Ministry of Health that figure in 4,000 specialists the deficit in all Spain.
Bishop Polanco has staff problems in four of his 33 services, admits the Department of Health: Otolaryngology, Rheumatology, Obstetrics and Chemical Analysis and Biochemistry. The spokeswoman assures that the measures impelled by the autonomic Government have managed to stabilize the deficit in other five services. In addition to the call for a large number of places in competitions, the Aragonese Health Service has introduced incentives such as the increase in the score for seniority accumulated by doctors working in difficult positions to cover with a view to public offers of employment and contracts mixed that allow to work part of the week in Teruel and another, in Zaragoza.
The spokeswoman admits, nevertheless, that the circumstances in small hospitals like the one of Teruel are unpredictable. A month ago, the Otorhinolaryngology service was complete. Then, two of the three doctors that integrated it went to other autonomies and the boss took the loss, causing its closure.
Despite having a job pool common to all Aragon, in this specialty there was no one targeted. The emergency solution has been to hire a private doctor, who yesterday began to spend consultation at the hospital.
The Aragonese president, the socialist Javier Lamban, also defended yesterday the work of his Executive and assured that Teruel enjoys a "good health". "Occasionally there are some problems in some of the specialties, but not as a result of neglect or neglect by the Government of Aragon but as a result of the lack of medical professionals is a problem that must be addressed in the field national "because it affects, he added, to" all the health of inner Spain ".
"The problem of hospitals like Obispo Polanco's is that we have very fair staff. And that shows not only in the work overload, but also in the guards. When a doctor turns 55, you can ask to stop doing them. But what they did have to be assumed by the remaining comrades. And since the templates are so fair, there are doctors who have had to do 10 guards per month. The young comrades who come find this and as soon as they can, they run away ", says Francisco Rodilla, of the State Confederation of Medical Trade Unions-Aragón. He adds that, in any case, the situation is not alarming and that all patients are treated.
To cover the guards, Bishop Polanco has been forced to offer doctors in Zaragoza 1,800 euros gross for being on duty in Teruel from Friday afternoon to Monday morning. And that has aroused a certain feeling of grievance for hospital doctors, who do not charge as much, says Jesus Martinez, president of the Specialized Care section of the same union confederation.
The high rotation of doctors generates other problems, says Manuel Gimeno, primary care physician and spokesperson for the platforms La Teridad Importa and Teruel Health: "Today I had a patient who has seen five specialists for a knee. In the end a deterioration in health care is generated ".
"The decline in services causes the population to leave," says Amado Goded, of Teruel Existe, "and what is happening here we have already seen in small towns, where the doctor, the Civil Guard, the school and the final he left until the priest ". "In Teruel we have the second oldest hospital in Spain, from 1953. And the new one, which has announced that they are going to tender this month, will have fewer beds than the current one, they say that because Teruel has less and less population. With measures like that, it's not surprising ", adds Domingo Aula, from the same platform.
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Teruel has 134,572 inhabitants, according to the National Institute of Statistics; in 2009 there were 146,751. In a decade, it has lost 8% of its population.
The Obispo Polanco Hospital of Teruel serves 90,000 people. In the province there is another hospital center, in Alcañiz, at 145 kilometers.
Four of the 33 services of the Obispo Polanco Hospital present a staff deficit. Because there are numerous services in which one, two or three doctors work, frequent marches, as well as casualties, easily leave them precarious.
The consultations that this hospital can not attend are usually derived to those of Calatayud (145 kilometers) and Zaragoza (171).
The Government of Aragon will sign this month the act of beginning of the works of the new hospital of Teruel, with a budget of 100 million euros. The current one, from 1953, is one of the oldest in Spain.