A year since La Ribera reversal (Chapter 2)

“I am very sorry for all those who predicted that Alzira would be a victim of its own success once it rid itself of private management”. Thus began the first part of my blog devoted to the reversal of La Ribera Healthcare Department (Alzira). Today, I press on with the need to publish, analyse and compare the results in health, healthcare and waiting lists in order to generate public information that is accessible to the entire population and to help -with new focal points- towards sustainability and improved quality of healthcare for those living in the Valencia region. Chapter 2 begins.

Confronting public management with private management is a total mistake that is typical of people with limited intellectual resources. Both procedures are more than complementary, they need each other; but as long as we continue to bring both forms of management into conflict, we will achieve very little for our citizens, except to get involved in a nonsensical debate that is reduced – very much to my regret- to criteria that are exclusively sectarian.

How much information do we actually have about before, during and after the reversal? Data, data and more data… They demanded this from us when we managed the health area of La Ribera with the Conselleria de Sanitat Universal i Salut Pública; however, now that the latter manages it alone, it no longer seems seem to matter. They are not relevant and I wonder: is transparency still the fundamental basis of good management of public resources?

It is inconceivable that those who criticised the hypothetical lack of transparency, responsibility and good governance by our company, are now the same ones who conceal evidence of La Ribera’s decline: more waiting lists, overwhelmed A&E, more public spending by diverting patients to private clinics, unpaid incentives and delays of up to 9 months in payment of the additional Christmas and summer salary payments , material is costing 70% more, and so on.

These represent figures of failure that serve to highlight bad public practices. They are figures of regression as a consequence of sectarianism whims. They are the figures of the fall of a hospital that was a benchmark, and one that was classified as among the ‘best in Spain’. Alzira is a clear example of poor public governance that, without a doubt, will be studied in the future in universities and business schools as poor application of political decisions to the detriment of the well-being of citizens. Time will tell.

These are the figures that instead of being compiled by an observatory of public-private cooperation, are being placed on the front pages of local media. It is good for the press to monitor the state of the healthcare department -the citizen demands it-, yet it would be better if such monitoring were carried out by an independent body, which would give a fair balance to both management models for the purpose of one nourishing the other.

This observatory has been an unfulfilled promise of the Valencian regional government and companies that work with the Public Administration are beginning to feel the fever of legal uncertainty. The intention was for this observatory to comprise representatives from the private sector and from the administration, and it was going to allow a management model -tasked with playing a major role for our progress as a society- to be supervised with control, follow-up and transparency. However, more than one year later we continue here, and while we wait we cast our eyes over newspaper headlines such as these: “A year of reversal: La Ribera, more staff but more waiting lists”, or “Healthcare report endorses the increases of waiting lists at La Ribera”.

I hope to write about the observatory again in my blog, not in any fictitious way but rather with actual data, data and more data. Objective, impartial and independent data such as those compiled by the Síndic de Comptes (Audit Office) of the Regional Government of Valencia to whom I send my warmest regards, as well as to its team -I know they are regular followers of my blog-, because it cannot be easy to perform this magnificent analysis work without enduring a myriad of pressures. From here I encourage them to prepare a new report on La Ribera Healthcare Department. Anyone up for the challenge?


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