How much longer do I have to wait?

The latest regional data collected by the Government shows that surgery waiting times have increased again within the Spanish National Health Service (SNS) and, once again, I am regret to see that the SNS surgery waiting list has again become catastrophic.

According to the latest figures published last week by the Ministry of Health, the average waiting time to undergo surgery within the SNS has reached 115 days compared to 83 days just six months ago. If we compare this among autonomous communities, the differences between some communities and others are huge, ranging from 182 days in the Canary Islands and 173 in Catalonia, to 115 in the Valencian Community, 50 days in the Basque Country, 49 in La Rioja, and 33 and 39 in Melilla and Ceuta, respectively. However, I would like to point out that the aforementioned data was published on 31st December 2016. In the Valencian Community, the figure has slightly improved in the first quarter of 2017, from 115 to 104 days, according to data provided by the Valencian Ministry of Health’s Alumbra programme. This is not a significant reduction and it shows that there is still a lot of work to be done. It is not indeed a “real” reduction, as the reason for this reduction is the fact that patients who had been waiting over 180 days for surgery have now undergone the procedure. Actually, the number of individuals awaiting surgery has increased by over 2,000.

For almost 20 years, we at Ribera Salud have been working for and on behalf of Public Health, and from a Public Health perspective. Our management model in the Valencian Community has created the foundations to make our public health system more sustainable, efficient and effective, with the best possible tools to enable it to respond to the needs of citizens and future challenges. In addition to this, there is transparency when reporting on waiting lists in our health departments, the investments made, the technology we are using, hiring and stabilisation of our professionals and the increase in activity, which are essential factors that indicate that we are going in the right direction.

We must be doing something right when the citizens we care for at the health departments we manage in the Valencian Community are waiting less time than those from the rest of the public hospitals. Therefore, going back to the data provided by the Valencian Ministry of Health in March, compared to its 104 days, our citizens in Ribera are waiting 54 days and those in Vinalopó and Torrevieja are waiting 30 days.

I believe that anyone seeing these figures, regardless of their political allegiance, will agree that we are failing to comply with the principle of fairness in access to the public health system, and that the waiting list will continue to grow if we are not able to overcome ideological confrontation between the public and private sectors. I will never get tired of repeating that we are complementary to each other. We encourage the integration of resources for the good of the population, as it is unfortunately the patients who always lose at the end of the day.

Health is the most important thing, and its management must be based on results, not ideology. I have provided our data in this entry. You can now draw your own conclusions.

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