MADRID – The Council of Ministers on Tuesday approved a €172 million intended to improve the situation of primary care in Spain. It is at its limit due to a lack of funding. That translates into the saturation of health centres and long waiting lists.
Job insecurity is also high in the healthcare sector. Consequently, more and more healthcare professionals are leaving primary care and it is more difficult to recruit new staff. However, with this amount of €172 million, the government is trying to respond to one of the most important demands of the platforms in defence of public health.
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General State Budget 2022
The item is included in the General State Budget for 2022 and will be distributed among the autonomous communities. The ultimate goal is to implement the strategic framework of primary and community care. Moreover, the idea is that measures are taken to improve the accessibility of primary care.
This amount adds to others already approved by the government. Such as that for ‘Salud Digital’ (digital care) with €230 million, or that of the oral health plan (dentists, hygienists and orthodontists), which has €44 million more.
Health Minister Darias explained that the “funding is for specific actions” already determined by the autonomous communities themselves. This includes the purchase of equipment to improve the diagnostic capacity.
This item also aims to initiate other types of actions aimed at optimising administrative processes and thus accelerating primary care services. Anti-cancer strategies will also be implemented, such as promoting screening to detect cervical cancer from primary school onwards.
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“To this amount come the budgets that each autonomous community has designated for primary care,” Darias noted.
The distribution of these funds will be discussed in the Interterritorial Health Council, which will meet next Wednesday. “This government is working to strengthen the public sector,” the government spokesman, Isabel Rodríguez, emphasised at the press conference after the Council of Ministers.
The minister’s meeting with regional councillors next Wednesday will also discuss the current situation of the coronavirus, as well as the epidemiological situation and the situation of monkeypox vaccines. The availability of doses against the infection remains scarce, although experts recognise the worst of this outbreak is already over.