The Minister of Health, Mónica García, has proposed a horizon for the end of the 24-hour shifts carried out by medical personnel. “We will respond this legislature,” she indicated this weekend in statements to the media. This is not the first time that García has expressed opposition to this situation, which she has classified as “anachronism that puts the rest, conciliation and mental health of our health professionals at risk.”

The Health commitment coincides on this occasion with a campaign on the platform, which has already accumulated more than 82,000 signatures to end 24-hour medical guards. “You arrive at the emergency room. You are very serious and they admit you to the ICU. A doctor now has to make a decision that will mean you live or die. “Do you prefer a clear-headed doctor or one who hasn’t slept for 20 hours?” the letter asks.

García’s intention is to include the end of the guards in the reform of the Framework Statute, which is being negotiated for “the improvement of the conditions of our health professionals.” “One of the priority issues is the anachronism represented by 24-hour shifts, for which we have professionals who are working more than 50 hours a week,” said the minister. Some hours that, as the general secretary of the AMYTS union, Ángela Hernández, has recalled, are “mandatory, paid less than the ordinary hour and do not count towards retirement, but they also represent an important part of the remuneration and would mean increasing the templates by at least a third.”

A report from the General Council of Official Medical Colleges, published a year ago, went further by pointing out that 80% of the residents, doctors who are carrying out their specialty, and therefore in the training period, work more than the maximum number of hours. working hours established by the European directive or they do not rest as much as they should.

The end of medical guards is not included in the government agreement signed by the PSOE and Sumar. Nor in the program of Yolanda Díaz’s platform, where reference is made to a reform of the Framework Statute and the rest of the legislation so that “the right to rational, predictable and respectful days and schedules of workers’ rights is recognized. to guarantee the conciliation of family life and professional life.” It did include a commitment to end the 24-hour medical shifts of midwives and nurses, “moving from the on-call system to a shift system, as occurs in other European countries.”

The Minister of Health of the Community of Madrid, Fátima Matute, spoke this Monday about the ministry’s intention. Although he regretted finding out “through tweets instead of through official channels”, he has indicated that they will be “aligned” in “everything that involves valuing and helping health professionals”, but he has demanded a study that includes an economic memory.

Mónica García has been an advocate for the end of 24-hour guards for years. The measure was already included in the electoral program of Más País for the 2019 elections. That same year, in an interview in Medical Writing, the now minister defended that the reform must be in the “medium-long term”, given the structural deficit of professionals, which requires “planning”. “They are one of those measures that we have to work to eliminate. Here comes another debate, which is working conditions. We cannot change the guard model, when almost half of the salary to be received has to do with them, if you do not change the remuneration model and what roles each professional has,” she explained at the time.


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