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Health Ministry Cuts Summer Budget – And Doesn´t Know If They Can Get the Staff



During a meeting this week, the Ministry of Health presented their summer plan to the unions representing the healthcare sector across the Valencia region, to showcase the budget of 79.5 million euro, which they say represents an increase of 7.2 million compared to last year, to boost summer coverage in the sector.

These funds are directed both at replacement contracts to cover health personnel who are on summer rest, and at the additional hiring that is intended to be carried out to reinforce Primary Care centres and clinics in areas with the greatest tourist influx. However, there is a caveat, in so much as the press release accompanying the news explains, “provided that there is available staff”.

The Minister of Health, Marciano Gómez, explained that despite the praised “increase” in budget “the planning presented at the sectoral table, conditioned on the availability of personnel, aims to maintain practically the same care provision that was offered last summer.”

Given the exceptional situation of shortage of doctors that the National Health System is facing this summer, the Ministry will apply measures such as the redistribution of care hours, which will include, if necessary, the reduction of care hours in some centres, the mobility of physicians, incentives (as provided for in the Agreement of January 30, 2024 of the Consell and the decree law 2/2024 of the Consell), as well as the extension of the voluntary period in which professionals will be able to enjoy their vacations until the 30th of November.

In addition, goodwill will be called on as residents who will finish their training in September will be able to provide tutored care in their own health centre or another nearby centre, on a voluntary basis and with a family doctor at the centre.

The program starts this year on June 15 and runs until November 30, so it will last five and a half months compared to four last year (one and a half months longer than in 2023). 79.5 million divided by five and a half months in 14.5 million per month. 72.3 million divided by 4 months is 18 million per month.

Therefore, despite the claims of a budget increase, when spread over the period of operation, the budget has actually been cut this year by around 3.5 million euro per month.

Despite the cut in budget, the plan foresees, in principle based on the availability of personnel which they are doubting, more than 8,600 hires, around a thousand more than last year, an increase that is mainly attributed to the incorporation of the departments of Dénia and Manises to the direct management away from the private sector as before, so again, not actually an increase in available staff beyond what is written on paper, as those medics were already working but in the private sector. The actual difference now is that their wages also come out of the staffing budget.

In order to improve health care in tourist areas with greater affluence, the Ministry of Health has planned, in addition to the opening of 20 auxiliary summer clinics, reinforcement actions in another 65 health care centres, by increasing staff in health centres, integrated health centres and offices, without explaining where these additional staff will come from of course, given that they have already said that there is a shortage.

In Alicante the auxiliary centres of Calp La Fossa, Dénia Les Marines, Xàbia Arenal, Urbanova Alicante and Casa del Mar Santa Pola will be opened.

On the other hand, despite earlier warning of the potential reduction in hours, amongst the health care centres that will be boosted by the pool of trained medical staff who have been sat at home waiting for this opportunity will be CSI Santa Pola, Santa Pola Gran Alicant, La Marina, Elche Los Arenales, Tabarca Island, Guardamar de Segura, La Loma, Mil Palmeras, Orihuela Costa, and Pilar de la Horadada-Torre de la Horadada.



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