Tomás Cobo, Florentino Pérez, Fernando Chacón, Óscar Castro and Jesús Aguilar.
The endorsement of the Congress of Deputies for the record spending ceiling proposed by the Government marks the beginning of a new phase in the processing of the 2023 State Accounts. The central Executive now needs allies in the Lower House to facilitate the approval of the project , which, among other objectives, seeks to shield the “renewal and expansion of the capacities of the National Health System”. This was reflected in the expenditure section of the order of General Budgetsalthough the professional health associations summon Pedro Sánchez’s cabinet to specify and materialize measures that, on the one hand, have a positive impact on the job; and on the other, encourage pending strategies of the present exercise.
Job stability is precisely one of the pillars of the demand of the General Council of Official Colleges of Physicians (Cgcom). Thomas Cob, President of the organization, refers in this sense to the need to “consolidate employment” to curb “precarious” contracts that have, he says, up to 50 percent of doctors in Spain.
Such a diagnosis Florentino Perez Raya, head of the General Council of Nursing, who regrets that, despite the importance of health in political discourse, budgeted spending remains “below the European Union average”, which places its Healthcare GDP at 9.5 percent. Last year, he points out, public investment in health in Spain “barely reached 6.6 percent”.
The average health GDP of the EU stands at 9.5 percent, three points higher than in Spain
“It must be added that, already with this situation of low investment, health spending allocated to Primary Care is much lower than what is allocated by EU countries with very advanced health, such as UK, France or Italy, who allocate between 20-25 percent of total health spending to primary care. In Spain it does not reach 14 percent”, he denounces.
This claim is also endorsed by the pharmaceutical sector. Sources from the General Council of Pharmaceutical Colleges (Cgcof) emphasize that the end of the coronavirus pandemic announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) “should not make us forget the need to strengthen the capacities of the SNS, especially Primary Care” . “It would be desirable for the next Budgets to guarantee the sustainability of the network of 22,198 pharmacies and include them in programs of public health, digitization, chronic patient carefight against the demographic challenge or attention to the most vulnerable groups”, concludes the organization that presides over Jesus Aguilar.
Health accounts ‘pending’ of the Budgets
The professional councils unanimously call for an increase in spending on health, although they focus on different ‘fronts’. In the case of doctors, the Cgcom considers it essential that this increase in spending promotes the creation of specific training areas and new specialties, including that of Clinical Genetics.
From the General Council of Psychology they ask the Executive for “coherence” to reinforce the attention and financing of the Mental Health Action Program“including in that plan the support to the autonomous communities so that they incorporate the psychological care in Primary Care”.
Fernando Chacon, Vice President of the Council, also advocates expanding the number of PIR places and places in the National Health System for mental health professionals, “whether they are psychiatrists, clinical psychologists or mental health specialist nurses”. “The data from all international organizations show that Spain is well below that average figure, which is in 18 professionals per 100,000 inhabitants. In Spain, it is a third”, he laments.
Finally, the Council of Dentists calls for “rethinking the current integration model of dentists in Primary Care” to “reinforce their preventive and health promotion work”. For it, Oscar Castro, head of the body, proposes a ‘national community dental service’ that is responsible for the management and evaluation of all actions. “This solution would help reduce the effect of what we call the postal gradient ‘, given the great differences that currently exist in the approach to oral health between the different autonomous communities”, he points out.
Castro himself stresses that, despite the “positive” departure of €44 million allocated in past Budgets to expanding the portfolio of oral health services, this continues to be “insufficient”and hopes that in the 2023 project “the economic amount destined for this purpose will allow the homogenization of benefits throughout the country, in addition to increasing the number of places that currently exist in public health.”
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