The sixth wave shoots up the workload of primary care doctors by 24%

The workload of primary care physicians in Spain has been increased by 24% during the sixth wave, and of this percentage about six points are related to the management of job registrations and dismissals, according to a study by the Applied Economics Studies Foundation (Fedea).

The aforementioned study is the work of researchers José Boscá, José Cano and Javier Ferri, from the University of Valencia, and analyzes some aspects of the evolution of the pandemic covid in Spain during 2021.

According to the authors' calculations, since the beginning of the sixth wave, the workforce of each primary care center in Spain should have increased its workforce by two employees on average.

In the absence of this reinforcement, the cphysicians' aggregate workload would have increased by around 24%, of which approximately six percentage points would be due to the management of medical discharges and discharges.

In the case of nurses, the increase in workload would have been 19%, and 36% in that of other professionals, which includes, among others, receptionists/telephone operators and laboratory technicians.

The study also provides estimates of the impact of vaccines on the accumulated number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

The authors document the existence of a clear downward trend during the year in the severity of the epidemic and the pressure it exerts on the hospital system.

The probability that the infection will require hospital treatment has been decreasing and so has the number of deaths, both in relation to the number of infections and in absolute terms.

Although the total number of infections has broken all records at the end of the year with the new wave generated by the omicron variant, the average severity of infections has been reduced considerably.

Health situation caused by omicron

Taking this factor into account, the current incidence rates are below the peak of the third wave, recorded at the beginning of 2021. The immediate cause of the improvement in the health situation, always according to the aforementioned Fedea study, has been the increasing immunity of the population, fundamentally due to the rapid vaccination process.

In fact, it is estimated that covid deaths they would have been almost six times higher without the vaccines, and that they would have mostly affected the older segments of the population.

On the contrary, it is also concluded that if the entire population had been vaccinated since the first week of April, the incidence of the pandemic during 2021, measured in terms of hospitalizations and deaths, would have been similar to "a bad flu year".

The work ends with some recommendations to deal with the current stage of the pandemic, among which stands out the need to encourage vaccination by generalizing the requirement of the covid passport or daily tests to access certain facilities or events.

The possibility of establishing specific centers outside the primary care centers for diagnostic tests, as well as more agile procedures for the processing of job registrations and dismissals for medical reasons.

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