MADRID: Regional governments in Spain are sending patients to private hospitals and clinics to relieve crowded public hospitals. Only five Spanish regions manage to distribute the pressure independently. However, there is a price tag on the help of private care.
Spanish news site La Sexta wrote on Sunday that occupancy levels in hospitals are almost the same, or sometimes worse, than in March last year. As a result, a large majority of the autonomous regional governments are referring patients.
Spanish regions are relocating patients
In Madrid, Valencia, Murcia, Navarre, Catalonia, Galicia and Extremadura, regional governments have decided to send Covid-19 patients to private centres. The Basque Country, Castile and León and Aragón also refer patients, though not Covid-19 patients due to the risks entailed.
The cost of relying on private care varies by region
The Federation of the Association for the Defense of Public Health says after the first corona wave, there has been hardly any improvement in the number of hospital beds. However, hiring private clinics is expensive and prices vary by region. The Federation believes these costs should be spent on investing in more beds and resources for public care.
In several regions, private clinics have made some beds available to the public health system. However, this comes with a price tag. For example, a bed for a Covid-19 patient in Madrid costs €734.25 per day, rising to €2,084.89 euros for an IC bed. However, the same admissions in Valencia cost around half that in Madrid. In Andalucia, the Junta pays €178 per day for private care and €750 euros per day when the patient requires ICU care.
Five Spanish regions are coping with care pressures
The only regions in Spain that resolve high occupancy rate within their own region are Asturias, Cantabria, Castile-La Mancha, the Canary Islands and La Rioja. These public hospitals use their own network and engage other public hospitals in the same region to spread the load.