Health centres in the Alicante province currently bear the greatest care burden in the Community
According to the latest report of the Economic and Social Committee of the Valencian Community (CES-CV), based on data provided by the Department of Health, doctors in the Province attend up to 32 patients a day when the average in the Valencian Community is 25 consultations
The department of health at Elche-Crevillent is said to be the most saturated. The population, its aging and the tourist character of the areas are some of its conditioning factors.
The report shows that each Primary Care doctor in the autonomous territory receives an average of 25 patients each day, but among some practises located in the province of Alicante, the figure rises to 27 patients. In Elche – Crevillent the average is 31.7 patients per day per doctor, followed by Elda, with 29.2, and then Elche-General Hospital, with 28.96.
In general terms the report says that Primary Care centres in the north of the province are generally under less pressure, with the lowest rates of patients per day seeing their in Dénia and Alcoy given as 22.18 and 23.81, respectively.
Of course, this does not mean that the further south you live the more overloaded the doctors are, as it is not in the more southern towns of Orihuela and Torrevieja where doctors see their most intensive daily workload.
The indexes that reflect the CES-CV’s report on the healthcare pressure in Valencia and Castellón health centres are significantly lower than in Alicante. The department with the lowest load, according to the data, is that of Requena, the only one where doctors see less than 20 patients a day. It is, of course, a very sparsely populated territory, one of the main factors that can determine the volume of work in health centres.
The president of the Valencian Society of Family and Community Medicine (SVMFiC), Aurelio Duque, says that “usually in urban areas the average number of patients treated per day is higher” , and can easily be above 40. The figures are also much higher in tourist areas. “There are far more visitors to these areas and, therefore, more patients,” he says. Aging, which causes people to go to the doctor more, is another reason.
“Patient overload in some practices can also lead to doctor absences; short term absences are not replaced,” he recalls. He also stresses the need to “properly provide Primary Care” to prevent these patients from going to hospitals or their local Emergency Department and collapsing those services.
Figures released for local municipalities show that Torrevieja services an average of 28,2 appointments per doctor per day and Orihuela 27,89.
At the Vinalopó Salud, however, which manages health care in Elche-Crevillent, they are now trialling virtual patient care through their own portal and app. This tool allows them to establish “a constant communication between doctor and patient, reducing a need to visit the health centre” and resolving issues about treatments or chronic diseases, improving “the effectiveness” of the system in a manner “that is so far proving to be satisfactory for both patients and for medical staff”.