Friday, February 23

The Supreme condemns the Community of Madrid for working conditions in primary care

The Supreme Court has confirmed the conviction of the Community of Madrid for the working conditions of primary care health workers and pediatric staff. The judges, as has learned, have decided to endorse for the most part the ruling of the Madrid courts that established that the health and physical integrity rights of the toilets were being violated due to their conditions and lack of protection, but they do reject that Justice can force the Government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso to make a specific type of evaluation of these risks.

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The sentence arises from a lawsuit filed by the union Primary Association Moves, in which they denounced the situation of primary care and public pediatrics in the Community of Madrid from before the pandemic to the present, including the situation of health workers during the different waves of COVID. The Superior Court of Justice of Madrid issued a harsh sentence in March of last year in which it concluded: “The Community of Madrid violates the rights of primary care doctors and pediatricians in terms of physical integrity and health by not having provided them with adequate of the means and measures of protection in their workplace and failing to comply with their obligations in terms of occupational risk prevention, assessment of the workload of said group and evaluation of the risks of their jobs”.

That sentence also forced to make an occupational risk prevention plan for the jobs of primary care doctors to then force the Community of Madrid to set quotas, maximum number of patients per working day and time minimum dedication to each one, as well as to establish “a template in accordance with it and to cover the existing vacancies in it”. The judges analyzed the situation of the Madrid toilets from

The Supreme Court, with Ángel Blasco as rapporteur, had spent weeks studying both the appeal of the union, which asked to extend this responsibility to the Ministry of Health, and that of the Community of Madrid and has decided to estimate that of the executive of Isabel Díaz Ayuso. In this way, the judges maintain the sentence, the declaration of the violation of the health workers’ rights and the obligation to make this occupational risk prevention plan, but annulling the specific content: that obligation to set patient quotas or the time dedicated to each.

For the Supreme Court, “it is evident that it exceeds the limits of a sentence to carry out an occupational risk prevention plan, to establish its specific content without having previously carried out the appropriate risk assessment” and they cannot, he adds, oblige measures in a sentence like this “that imply predetermining the organization of work and setting templates,” says the Supreme Court. The judges are harsh with the sentence of their colleagues from the Madrid TSJ and point to “serious motivational defects.” The appeal of the Community of Madrid was not complete and requested that these two pronouncements be annulled: the obligation to determine the workload as a result of analyzing the situation of primary care as well as the maximum number of patients and the obligation to cover the vacancies in the workforce.

The Supreme also rejects the appeal of the appellant union whose lawsuit has led to this conviction. The appeal requested that this sentence and demands be extended to the Ministry of Health and the Supreme Court explains that Madrid’s public health system, despite the declaration of the state of alarm in March 2020, remained the responsibility of the Community of Madrid. “It does not alter the powers of the Community of Madrid, nor of the rest of the autonomous communities, as employers of the doctors” although Health was in charge at a certain moment of buying EPIS and other measures to reduce contagion among the toilets, but remember the Supreme that “this was subordinated to what was derived from the evaluation of occupational risks, an obligation maintained by the Community of Madrid”. Therefore, the judges settle, “it did not affect the Ministry of Health at all, which at no time assumed the position of employer of those represented by the plaintiff.”