“The situation could not be more bleak.” The meeting held this Thursday by the unions and the Ministry of Health for the reopening of the Primary Care emergencies could not have ended worse. The union organizations have left the meeting before the “immovable” proposal of the Madrid Executive and have called mobilizations and an indefinite strike of the professionals of the Rural Care Services (SAR), who are, in their opinion, the most affected by the restructuring of out-of-hospital emergencies, together with the patients.
Ayuso delays the reopening of Primary Care emergencies
“We are at a point where, given the tremendous worsening of working conditions that involves wanting to cover 78 service points with the personnel of the current SAR (41), we have no other choice but to propose a situation of union of the five trade union organizations present at the Sectorial Table and raise a conflict in the form of a strike by those affected, which will be registered in advance in the next few hours or first thing tomorrow morning”, has advanced the general secretary of Amyts, Ángela Hernández.
The 698 professionals, including Primary Care doctors (228), nurses (270) and caretakers (200), of the Rural Care Services, to whom the ministry now wants to change their working conditions, are called to strike, to reopen with this personnel the former SUAP, closed during the last 31 months. That is, open services without expanding staff.
This Thursday was the third meeting of the Sectorial Table, in which CCOO, Amyts, the Satse nursing union, CSIT Professional Union and UGT are present, to address the restructuring of the out-of-hospital emergency service, which includes the reopening of the SUAP that the Community closed due to the pandemic and has not yet reopened. These changes included the change of name, both of these and of the SAR, which will be called Continuous Attention Points. But that was the minor.
In principle, they were the same resources that existed before the outbreak of COVID-19, but the unions now denounce the “mistreatment to which rural care service professionals and Primary Care emergency services are going to be subjected, modifying their working conditions and increasing healthcare pressure”, explains the CCOO Health spokesman, Sergio Fernández. As announced by the Minister of Health, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, what the administration has done is “detect when the people of Madrid come throughout a 24-hour day.” 90% do it during the day and 10% at night.
With this information, the council’s plan is to force the SAR professionals to “adapt their days to reinforce the afternoons and evenings, leaving them for complementary activity.” “We reject the SERMAS proposal, in which it is clearly proposed to increase the working hours of professionals from 1,536 hours per year to 1,642.5 hours per year, the radical modification of their work shifts and a foreseeable reduction in their remuneration”, justify the unions.
“It’s a shame to reach this situation when, let’s remember, there is an urgent and emergency plan negotiated, from 2004 to 2007, which stated that it had to be reviewed every three years. That review never took place and now things are done quickly and running”, laments Hernández. In June, Ayuso announced the reopening of 17 of the 37 emergency services that he had closed in March 2020 after the summer, but only 10 with a doctor. Social pressure made him rectify a few days later and affirm that he would open everything as soon as he had the chance.
The last update of dates from the regional government has been that these reopenings would take place throughout the month of October, something in which the counselor for the branch, Enrique Ruiz-Escudero, has ratified this morning, before knowing the strike call. “We have not seen a very critical response to what they proposed,” he went on to point out.
However, the unions have been denouncing for weeks the lack of information and the scarce, if not null, margin for negotiation that the council gives them. “We agree that this negotiation is a failure from the beginning due to political pressure outside the Table and due to the obligation of wanting to close such an important issue in a short space of time. For this reason, we do not consider that the negotiation has been initiated at any time”, affirm the union organizations in a statement.
Among other demands, the unions demand to maintain the 41 SARs with their current working conditions, including working hours, geographic and functional affiliation, offer SUMMA 112 personnel who worked in the SUAPs in March 2020 the possibility of joining the new PACs, and end the process of reopening the 78 devices without any professional having any remuneration losses from this change. And, lastly: “Guarantee the quality and safety of emergency out-of-hospital care for the population of the Community of Madrid, as well as promote the attraction and, above all, the maintenance of professionals from all affected categories, who would otherwise be there is a risk that they will leave the Madrid health system due to a hasty, imposed and unilateral measure by the Ministry of Health”.
This is not the first labor conflict that Ayuso faces with the Madrid toilets. In March 2021, the unions called a Primary Care strike due to the high care burden suffered by male and female doctors, the poor working and economic conditions and the lack of means. The call was deactivated the same morning of the call. It was the day that the Madrid president called early elections. Last May, the specialists and doctors of the Community of Madrid staged a strike, which lasted for 10 days, to demand the end of temporary employment, which in some cases lasted for five years.