The Valencian Superior Court of Justice has ordered the Generalitat to sign agreements with the Catholic University San Vicente Mártir, private, so that their students of health careers can do internships in the network of public hospitals. The magistrates thus accept a recourse presented by the academic institution owned by the Archbishopric of Valencia, to which each course has access to more than five hundred new students from careers in the health area.
The judicial decision, which has caused surprise in the Valencian Government made up of Socialists and Compromis, contradicts a political decision adopted in 2016. The then Health Councilors, Carmen Montón, and of Education, Vicent Marzà, announced that private universities would cease to be able to perform internships in public health centers. Those responsible for the Generalitat argued that such agreements with private campuses, which became widespread during the term of Francisco Camps, of the PP, were contrary to law, although they allowed students who had already begun their careers in such universities to continue doing practices through specific agreements in each health center that offer legal coverage to the situation, so as not to harm the studies of the students.
Only in the San Vicente Mártir Catholic University, 420 students of Nursing and another 119 of Medicine enroll in the first year. Students from private centers of Pharmacy, Clinical Psychology and Biotechnology, who at some time passed through public health centers, were also affected, although to a much lesser degree.
The judgment of the Fourth Chamber of the Contentious-Administrative of the Valencian Superior Court not only resolves that the Catholic University – and by extension, in case they request it before the court, the other two private academic centers affected – can have this class of agreements with the Generalitat, but forces the Executive to sign them within four months. "A sufficient and reasonable time for the cooperation agreements to be drawn up and signed to which the plaintiff is entitled", indicate magistrates Miguel Ángel Olarte, Edilberto Narbón and Manuel Domingo, who have ruled against the education policy of the Generalitat on several occasions this legislature.
Since 2015 the Valencian Government has changed the policy of the PP to provide resources to private universities in different ways, such as health practices in public centers, which are rare in the rest of the autonomous communities, according to sources from public universities. The Generalitat affirmed, in this case, that the state regulation only contemplates in an "exceptional" way that the same hospital signs agreements with more than one university, while in the Valencian Community it had become the norm: the original agreement with public universities Agreements with private campuses had been added.
This had provoked complaints from public universities. The dean of Health Sciences of the Jaume I of Castellón, Rafael Ballester, denounced for example that the private one had "taken over the practices in the public hospitals", generating, in addition, an "agglomeration" of students that could affect the quality of the practices.
The executive also alleged that, in order to carry out the internships, the private ones hired the doctors of the public during their working hours, which contravened the Law of Incompatibilities of the Personnel at the Service of the Public Administrations.
The judges of Section Four rebut both arguments in a sentence of five pages in which they point out that the practices do not pose problems by not interrupting the work of health personnel. The judges add that the Catholic University "has proven that there is insufficient private hospitals for the curricular practice of medical and nursing students [de centros privados], and that the places available for curricular practice in public hospitals accredited for teaching are sufficient to attend without tension to students from the public and private universities. "The Catholic University does not teach in Castellón, where the private center Opera is the CEU-Cardinal Herrera.
A spokeswoman of the Ministry of Health said that the Generalitat will study the sentence to decide if it lodges an appeal, which can be filed with the Supreme Court. The Valencian Government has clashed in the last three years with the Fourth Section of the Superior Court of Justice, which has failed against a good part of its educational regulations. The Generalitat began, as a result, to transform its regulations into law to escape the field of action of the magistrates of the court, since the laws can only be challenged before the Constitutional Court.
In response, the Fourth Section raised a few months ago to this body a question of unconstitutionality against the Valencian law that regulates plurilingualism. The Constitutional Court did not admit it a few weeks ago and reminded the Valencian judges that "the question of unconstitutionality is not a means that judicial bodies can use to claim the Constitutional Court's abstract debugging of the legal system."
The prohibition that the students of the private universities make practices in public hospitals has also been taken to the Constitutional, although in this case by a resource presented by 50 senators of the PP against the reform of the Law of Health of the Valencian Community. The change approved at the beginning of the year established that the Generalitat can establish sanitary agreements with public universities. The previous writing referred to universities, without distinguishing between whether their ownership was public or private. This legislative change, approved after the Catholic University presented the appeal on which the Superior Court has just pronounced, may be one of the ways that the regional government uses to resist signing the agreements with the private academic center.