Unions accuse Health Minister of sending medical staff “to the slaughterhouse.”

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Unions accuse Health Minister of sending medical staff “to the slaughterhouse.”
Unions accuse Health Minister of sending medical staff “to the slaughterhouse.”

  • Valencian doctors rebel against the delay of protective equipment
  • Unions say they will bring criminal proceedings agains Minister

Medical staff in the Valencian Community are at their limit, and will continue to be so as long as the coronavirus continues to leave a trail of deaths and infections across the Community.

As doctors, nurses and other medical professionals cry out at the shortage of material and the delay in applying protective measures recommended by specialists the situation has reached a point of no return.

On Tuesday the CESM-CV Medical Union called for the resignation of the Minister of Health, Ana Barceló, threatening her, along with her management team, with “a criminal action”.

Yesterday’s arrival into Zaragoza of the promised shipments from China, of masks, gloves and protective equipment, as well as another from the ministry, is not bolstering their spirits as health workers continue to pay dearly for the lack of equipment.

The region already accounts for 2,167 infected people of which 20% are health personnel. In total, 414 doctors and nurses have already been infected in the Community, one in five of those affected, but in the opinion of the Medical Union, “there are probably many more because coronavirus tests have still not being carried out on all healthcare personnel.”

Indeed the shortage of material has forced health personnel to “search for homemade solutions that in most cases are useless”. For example, in hospitals like Valencia’s Doctor Peset, staff have to sign a form confirming that they have received a mask that they agree to keep for a week.

There are currently 161 patients in the community who are in Intensive Care Units due to the severity of their conditions, out of a total of 917 admitted to hospitals. More than half of that number are in the province of Valencia.

At her daily appearance on Tuesday, in relation to the high number of infected staff, the Minister of Healh Ana Barceló aggravated her relationship with medical staff even more stating that “within the very high casualty rate, there are many professionals who have been infected through family or friends, and have imported the virus themselves. We have lost traceability in knowing where the contagion has occurred, there are now many different sources, there is not a single one”.

These words were not well received among the professionals. The unions CESM-CV, CSIF, CCOO and Satse, on the one hand, and the main Valencian and Spanish scientific societies and councils of doctors and nurses, on the other, said that Barceló’s words were derogatory, urged her to rectify what she had said and once again demanding protective equipment of which there is a widespread shortage across the Community.

But their appeals were of little use and although, through her Twitter profile, the counselor refined her words and tried to clarify her earlier statement, the unions were still united in their belief that she had handled it badly.

The response of medical staff was not long in coming and a petition of signatures was being put together on Tuesday afternoon to demand the removal of Barceló.

The CESM-CV union sent the Ministry a very tough letter demanding “their irrevocable resignation due to their obvious inability to face the pandemic we are facing with the minimum guarantees.”

In the letter, signed by the general secretary of the Medical Union, Andrés Cánovas, he said that, “in case of Barceló not correcting her statement he was considering submitting a corresponding complaint for slander while at the same letter he confirmed that the union would be filing a criminal complaint against the minister and the other management positions.”

He said “it is too late. You send us to the slaughterhouse. There is no protective equipment. Contagions are not avoided. Medical staff are falling like flies”.

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