• Primary Care staff admit that they are overwhelmed as they report a lack of resources and investment

We do not have the time to do more than we do. If a patient calls and the phone is not answered, it is because someone else is being treated. We cannot do any more.

Good management of Primary Care would certainly appear to be lacking in many areas, but above all the staff claim there is a lack of resources and investment, despite the fact that medical centres are the first line of defence, in helping to avoid the overloading of hospitals due to the coronavirus.

The person making the claim is a doctor from a health centre in Alicante who admits that they are overwhelmed, and not only in the provincial capital, but also in Elche where there is a very similar situation, particularly during the morning.

The doctor also states he foresees that the situation “will get worse during the autumn months” because the return to normalcy brought by the illnesses typical of colder months will increase the need for health care.

Users continue to complain that they call and call but they are unable to make contact with their centres and that they have no alternative other than to go to their clinic where they find long queues, often in bright sunshine.

This newspaper has received numerous complaints from users who are fed up with the situation.

One complainant said that he had to “argue with a receptionist” so that he could have a PCR test carried out after having been in contact with a person who had tested positive for coronavirus even though he was living with a person at risk.

Those who are mainly affected are the elderly, many who are unfamiliar with the operation of computer systems as a way of contacting their health centre and who have to resort to using a telephone which usually goes unanswered.

The president of the Valencian Society of Family and Community Medicine (Sovamfic), María Ángeles Medina, and the Medical Union have already denounced the situation that is being experienced in health centres with many doctors forced to treat up to 60 patients a day, combining it with their role as covid-19 trackers and with the rest of their bureaucratic tasks. The maximum number each doctor should be expected to treat is 30 patients she says.

“The few additional staff that have been provided by the Ministry are doctors without specialty or experience,” Medina states. “And even with them we estimate that the province still needs at least 20 percent more health professionals,” she lamented.

“We must also add that a third of the workforce is on summer holiday and that the plan to cover those holiday periods has failed,” adds the Alicante doctor. She said that as a result “patient care continues to suffer.”

Photo: At the Cabo Roig centre queues can be avoided by reporting as the doors open.

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