After a four-hour meeting, the specialist doctors of the Community of Madrid who had supported the indefinite strike against temporality in the Madrid Health Service (Sermas) have decided that it be called off. The decision has come after ten days of strike and after two meetings between the representatives of the Ministry of Health and the Strike Committee, which have been held this Wednesday and this Thursday. In these meetings, the Amyts union has started the commitment that “from now on, the provision of doctors and practitioners will be based on merits”.
As explained by the general secretary of Amyts, Ángela Hernández in a statement, it is “a milestone” that they have been “requesting for a long time”. This commitment “has been accompanied by a significant effort by the Ministry to increase the number of doctors who go to a merit contest, as well as the reactivation of a working group aimed at finally having transfers again,” something which has not happened in the Community since 2001, he explained.
“We are on the tenth day of an indefinite strike that should not have been reached,” Hernández clarified, who considered that doctors and practitioners deserved “an adequate response to the temporary situation that they have been dragging for decades.” “The failure to listen to the Community of Madrid led to a situation in which the strike was the only way” but now, they estimate that “knowing that the Ministry will do everything in its power to comply with the agreements reached and that all those additional places that have been achieved for hospital emergencies” and the promise that “for all the replacement processes of 2022, 2023 and onwards they will be carried out by merit competition”, they believe that “the reasonable thing is to reach this agreement”.
The Amyts union, present at the sectoral table, has promised to be “very attentive” to the fulfillment of these agreements with the Ministry.
According to data from the Ministry of Health itself, 11,970 doctors work in the region. Of these, 6,215 do so as interim or with temporary contracts. In other words, more than 50% suffer from temporary work, a rate that exceeds 80% in the case of emergency physicians. Brussels claims that, at most, 8% of professionals are temporary. The Community of Madrid had promised in recent days to reach 83% fixity, with 32,000 places stabilized between the ongoing processes and another 9,577 places, which it has offered in the last week and of which only 1,200 would correspond to professionals on strike.
The problem is how the Community wants to stabilize these places. The majority union Amyts, which had called the strike, the Non-fixed Doctors and Physicians Platform in Madrid-MUD, which brings together more than 1,500 doctors, and SomosUrgencias, demanded that it be done in accordance with Law 20/2021, approved in December . This state rule against temporality allows doctors who have been on a temporary contract in a structural position since before 2016 to access a merit competition. For those in this situation from 2016 to 2020, it contemplates a competition-opposition with a non-eliminatory exam.
Otherwise, these professionals who have been specializing in specific areas for years should prepare a generic eliminatory exam and test type of 150 questions on topics that do not apply to their day to day.
The problem lay in the 4,726 places that the Ministry of Health had convened a few days before the state law was approved, but when the content was already known. From the Community they took advantage of this Public Employment Offer to not comply with the new law, assuring that it would be illegal to cancel them. Despite them, last week they negotiated with the sectoral table, and not with the strike committee, to convene 1,200 places for doctors through the route demanded by health professionals. They were 200 more than they had been offered a week before, when the strike had not yet started, and a number in his opinion “insufficient”. Some places that would have been expanded after the meeting this Thursday and that will be announced throughout Friday.