The Community of Madrid chaired by Isabel Díaz Ayuso is looking for volunteers among the Resident Internal Physicians (MIR) – doctors who have not yet finished their specialty – to make up for the lack of toilets at the Nurse Isabel Zendal hospital. The Ministry of Health confirms to elDiario.es that it is “finalizing a regulation” so that there are “voluntary rotations” of residents who want to go to the new emergency center. The controversial hospital, which according to the Madrid president was going to “astonish the world” has encountered great difficulties even before its inauguration to equip itself with staff due to the refusal of most of the health personnel in the region to be transferred to the pandemic hospital. “They would do it in a programmed way within their training cycle,” they explain from the department headed by the counselor Enrique Ruiz Escudero about the project to try to make up for the staff deficit with MIR doctors. “We are going to regulate it through the teaching commissions, although it is not yet activated,” these same sources add.
But although the Ministry assures that the process is not yet activated, several hospitals in the region are already sending their residents communications so that they can access this possibility. This writing has had access to the email sent by the head of MIR studies of the Hospital de la Princesa, Fernando Ramasco Rueda, in which he communicates to the doctors in training that from the Community of Madrid they “request the possibility” of carrying out this rotation for the Zendal that would be, he says, always “voluntary” for a maximum period of time of “one to two months.” “It can be an enriching opportunity within your training both in various clinical aspects related to numerous specialties, as well as a vital experience as a doctor,” he explains.
The Community of Madrid affects the voluntary nature of these transfers that would last about two months, but the residents consulted by elDiario.es are very aware of the order that the Ministry of Health sent to all the hospitals in the region so that they do not hire to no health worker from the COVID reinforcement who would have given up being referred to the new center. “If we say no, obviously that can be counterproductive to be able to access future jobs, it is evident,” laments a resident who prefers to remain anonymous.
The hospital that the Madrid government exhibits as an achievement of its management capacity, being built in half a year, was built without taking into account the staff it needs and the president herself has always tried to clear up the questions about where they were going to come from health professionals to work in a center that, due to its size, would require 6,000 workers, according to the estimates of the unions, if one day the 1,000 programmed beds were opened. This week’s plan was to open 350 to complete 590. The formula chosen by the Ministry of Health so far was to relocate professionals from other centers despite the fact that many are already saturated by the extraordinary needs to face the pandemic. And the legion of volunteer doctors who according to Ayuso were going to volunteer to work in the new hospital has not appeared.
The president denounced this Monday a “smear campaign” of journalists and “political activists” after the internal order of the Ministry of Health had been published so that contracts to health workers from other centers who do not want to work in Zendal were not renewed. The order has been jointly criticized by all medical unions. “Social networks have to stop crushing patients and health workers who come here,” said the Madrid president during an impromptu visit to the new emergency center.
The truth is that the regional government has encountered a lot of resistance from the staff of the Community of Madrid to be transferred to the new center that was built in record time and that does not have operating rooms and lacks basic infrastructure that the network of hospitals in the region. The Madrid president declared a few weeks before her inauguration on December 1 that “any health worker would be delighted to work in the Zendal”, but reality soon denied Ayuso when the Ministry of Health launched a process for the professionals themselves to sign up for voluntarily. They only managed to get 106 to do so. Faced with the failure of the call, the regional government announced then that it would make forced transfers pulling the reinforcement personnel hired by COVID. Currently, there are already more than a thousand health workers working in the center, the vast majority – 90% – without having chosen it.
The regional government opened this weekend a new pavilion that has 360 beds, in addition to the 240 that were enabled at its inauguration. Infections are skyrocketing in the region and hospitals are looking to collapse both in the plant and in the ICUs. Faced with this scenario that the regional government recognizes that it will grow in the coming days, the Ministry reported that it would open more beds in the emergency hospital and for this it also needs more personnel, which they remove from the rest of the hospitals although the Ministry insists that the Zendal is a support for the rest of the network.
From the first moment the Executive of Ayuso have refused outright to make new hires to staff this center. The so-called “volunteers” will come out of the group of residents who, without training yet completed, will have to decide if they want to be transferred to Zendal. Your choice may condition future hiring by the Community of Madrid according to the internal order that the Ministry of Health has sent to the rest of the hospitals this week.