Laura Ramos explains, since the demonstration in Malaga, that she has been on the waiting list for 13 months for a preferred operation of grade 4, urgent, due to possible intestinal complications. She suffers from endometriosis. Her pre-op expired, and now she’ll have to repeat it. “The consequence of this delay in endometriosis can be losing part of the colon, sexual organs or part of the bladder”, explains Ana Ferrer, president of ADAEC. “If it becomes saturated, as it is becoming saturated, we have waits in which they don’t even give you the analgesia. One day we will have a death in a corridor.” Emilio carries a sign as he walks through the demonstration in Seville where he says that his wife has been in bed unable to move since November 2020 waiting for a diagnosis.
Andalusia compiles old measures to “sell” the new primary care reinforcement plan announced by Moreno
Paco, an elderly resident of the Alpujarra in Granada, has participated in the mobilization in the city of Granada to demand that the Junta de Andalucía not forget the towns and areas like his, where they have been waiting for years for build a county hospital. “It’s a shame that we get sick and have to go to Motril for someone to see us.” Along the same lines, a resident of La Rinconada regrets that the Ministry of Health has closed one of the two health centers that were in this town of Seville.
Among the professionals present at the demonstrations there is frustration. “There is a lack of personnel and casualties are not covered. It happens often in my center”, explains a radiologist from a Malaga CHARE, on condition of anonymity. Marta, a nurse in a hospital, regrets that the workload is so high that she does not allow “quality care”. She is contracted for six months, and it is her longest contract after stringing together years covering summer vacations and Christmas. Sandra is about 40 years old, she is a nurse in a hospital in Seville and “I can’t take it anymore”. That is why she has accepted a contract in Faro, Portugal; a job in which she works with less pressure and earning twice as much, although she feels that she has to “apologize” to Andalusian society for leaving. But “the bills must be paid.”
These are some of the people who have walked the streets of all the Andalusian capitals responding to the call of the UGT and CCOO unions in Andalusia, in defense of Public Health. Under the motto ‘It’s your right. For quality public health in Andalusia’, they have demanded in the streets an improvement in public health services. “It’s time to say ‘enough’.”
The unions have counted 75,000 people mobilized this Saturday in all the Andalusian capitals: a total of 25,000 demonstrators in Seville, 20,000 in Malaga, 10,000 in Cádiz, another 10,000 in Granada, 4,000 in Córdoba, 3,500 in Huelva, another 3,500 in Jaén and 2,500 in Almeria. Police data lower the figure. According to the Delegation of the Government of Spain in Andalusia, there have been some 800 demonstrators in Almería, 2,000 in Cádiz, another 2,000 in Córdoba, 4,000 in Granada, 1,800 in Huelva, 1,000 in Jaén, 2,500 in Málaga and 5,000 in Seville, figures that are approximate.
People have taken to the streets “to demand solutions”, argues the general secretary of the CCOO in Andalusia, Nuria López, since the mobilization in Seville- “They cannot hide”. She understands that it is necessary to say no “to policies that make the health system go downhill without brakes.” “People are telling the Government of Moreno Bonilla today not to turn a deaf ear, that they want solutions to the problems”, that “material and personal” reinforcement is needed; and they have also sent a message to the health personnel to the ” we have to take care of it every day, because they are the ones who take care of us”.
From UGT, Carmen Castilla agrees on the chaotic situation of Andalusian health, but “if there is political will, it can be solved, because there are resources.” “Everything is the result of ill-advised political decisions’ and with insufficient resources.” Castilla puts figures to the problem, and there it includes the 12,000 professionals who fulfill their temporary contracts now; 80% of Andalusian towns, those with less than 10,000 inhabitants , who are seen without a health center on many occasions, or the 35% of doctors practicing in Andalusia who are close to retirement in a maximum of five years and will leave a significant shortage of personnel. It’s a plan, it’s a patch. The situation we have now is no accident, it is the reason for bad political decisions and bad financing. Why hasn’t the surplus been used to improve healthcare?” Castilla lamented.
But the unions have not been alone. Numerous associations and social organizations have joined the mobilizations and have signed their manifesto: Facua-Consumidores en Acción; Andalusian Coordinator of White Tides; Andalusian Coordinator of NGDOs; Andalusian Coordinator for Historical and Democratic Memory; Andalusian Triangle Foundation; Andalusian Neighborhood Confederation; Federations of Andalusian Organizations for the Elderly (FOAM); Hadrian Antinous Association; Doctors of the World; Network of Proud Municipalities; and Krisol ProDDHH Intersex.
The opposition political parties have also appeared in the provincial demonstrations with greater or lesser presence, although in none of the cases have they led the marches. PSOE, United We Can, Adelante Andalucía, Andaluces Levantaos have attended the mobilization and in some cases have made statements. Thus, the general secretary of the Andalusian PSOE, Juan Espadas, has denied the greatest in the streets of Seville: that his party has left behind a health that cannot be lifted. Faced with this, “after three years”, Espadas urges the PP to solve the problems that are denounced in the demonstration, and goes further: “We must claim the rights of workers, of health professionals who are seeing how the Andalusian health system is falling”, and rejects that it is something that has caused the pandemic, because “it is a problem of a right-wing government that does not believe in public health”, which has caused “Andalusians to have to “seek life, paying for a private healthcare, when public healthcare is the jewel in the crown”.
The spokeswoman for United We Can in the Andalusian Parliament, Inma Nieto, has accused the Andalusian president, Juanma Moreno, of acting as a “private health commercial” and has criticized that “he is making money from the pandemic”, referring to the 2,400 million euros that the Board “has in surplus while waiting lists are out of control, primary care is collapsed and health personnel are exhausted. Politicians from Algeciras have said that every time they listen to Moreno “dispatch with such arrogance ” The criticism of Andalusian public health remembers “the arrogance with which Susana Díaz -former president of the Board- dispatched in the last bars of the previous legislature”. The spokesman for United We Can for Andalusia, Toni Valero, has been in the one in Malaga; and the spokeswoman for United We Can for Andalusia, Martina Velarde, in the Cordoba demonstration.
The leader of Adelante Andalucía, Teresa Rodríguez, has claimed from Cádiz that “whoever governs will have us in the streets against their cuts. We were when the PSOE was cutting and we are now that they cut the rights, until we can build a government that recovers the investment levels prior to the 2008 crisis, at least”. Esperanza Gómez, leader of Andaluces Levantaos, has also wanted to join the demonstration in Seville where she has claimed “quality public health”.
The PP attacks the PSOE
For their part, members of the Government have defended health management in Andalusia and have continued to describe the call, in line with what they have been doing all week, as a political call. The main criticism, in fact, has been for the PSOE, as is the case of the Minister of Health and Families, Jesús Aguirre (PP), has criticized the mobilizations that, in Aguirre’s opinion, “are carried out by Juan Espadas (PSOE)” because “they are mobilizations that are not social, they are political”, and has warned that “those who hide behind the banner are the cause of the deterioration of the Andalusian Public Health System (SSPA) until 2019”. He has highlighted that neither CSIF nor the Andalusian Medical Union support it. The counselor has challenged “those who say that Salud Responde does not respond” to call to verify that the response time is “a few seconds”, and has insisted that this mobilization is “political” because the government management figures of the PP and Citizens on the Board since 2019 “are very stubborn”, despite the fact that this newspaper has verified this week that the waiting times offered by Salud Responde continue to multiply the figure of three days offered by counselor Aguirre.
Elías Bendodo, counselor of the Presidency of the Board, assures that “the PSOE lies, intoxicates and launches a political war because it is not capable of refuting” the data of the Andalusian Government’s health management, which “are stubborn and, with 3,000 million euros of investment and 30,000 more workers”. The general coordinator of the PP of Andalusia, Antonio Repullo, has criticized this Saturday the “political demonstrations sponsored by the PSOE”, which have had the support of socialist mayors and “some majority unions that dance the water to the most radical PSOE, most intolerant and least dialogic in its history” with the aim of “trying to save a candidate imposed and remotely controlled by Pedro Sánchez who does not represent the interests of Andalusia”.