The True Face of Valencian Healthcare

A couple of weeks ago, I closely followed the first appearance in Les Corts Valencianes of the new Health Minister, Marciano Gómez. On one hand, he outlined the general lines of the new healthcare policy of the Government led by Carlos Mazón, which I will undoubtedly have the opportunity to analyze in detail on this blog as the proposals become realities. In any case, I wish him and his team all the best, as the health of more than five million Valencians, Alicante residents, and Castellón residents depends on their good judgment, courage, and success, among whom I include myself, as well as my family and friends.

Today, I am not going to evaluate proposals, future plans, or hypotheses, but realities. I wanted to take advantage of this new blog entry to express in words how shocked I was by the part of the intervention in which Minister Gómez made a diagnosis of the situation of Valencian healthcare. It was a reality check that I believe left all the actors in the sector stunned. He laid all the cards on the table and dismantled the falsehoods of the previous Valencian Government about the reality of Valencian healthcare, which, in any case, almost no one believed anymore. However, even knowing how incorrect the numbers given by the previous Government were, no one thought we were doing so poorly.

I will recall some of the figures given by the Minister, which are truly worrying due to their magnitude. Marciano Gómez confirmed in the parliamentary headquarters that while the Government of Ximo Puig said there were 72,000 patients on the waiting list, in reality, there are more than 112,000 Valencians waiting to be attended to by Valencian public healthcare! We are talking about many people who «did not count» for the Botànic Government. And let’s not forget that each number is a person, who could be our father, sister, son, or granddaughter. Imagining a loved one who needs healthcare and is not even considered as a patient is horrifying. But it is even more so when, as the Minister detailed, there are more than 4,000 people with a serious pathology who have been waiting more than 90 days to be treated. Three months. Unthinkable. He did well to qualify it as unacceptable because it is.

As a citizen, I was dismayed. As a manager, I am outraged.

Moreover, if the figures in the Valencian Community are so far from the reality presented by the previous Government, it is not difficult to imagine that something similar has happened in other autonomous communities and that there are many more than 800,000 Spaniards on the waiting list and we have exceeded one million patients waiting to be attended to.

This being the most serious of the first diagnosis that the new Valencian Government has been able to make, because citizens and their healthcare come first, I dare not put adjectives to the first economic data known about the management of Ximo Puig’s Consell in Health. Minister Gómez denounced that he has found 192,000 pending invoices, of which 120,000 will have to be paid without contractual support. These are invoices for services and healthcare material that amount to more than 1,000 million euros that are not recorded in public accounting. He even said that 42% of current expenditure will be paid outside the current administrative regulations. How is it possible that these things happen in the era of transparency, the auditing of accounts, and supposed public control?

When I have denounced from this blog the fiasco in the management of hospitals reverted by the previous Consell, such as La Ribera or Torrevieja, the cost overruns in the invoices for services or healthcare material, and how they have incurred 200 million more in annual expenditure due to their blunders and poor performance in these departments, I did not think that the chaos was so widespread. But the first audits of the new government show it. These reports should reach Europe and denounce before the competent authorities the waste and mismanagement of the previous heads of Valencian healthcare, which is causing real harm to the health of the citizens of this Community. It is a shame that a government hides 192,000 invoices or spends 1,000 million without a contract.

I hope that the disastrous reality that the new team of the Ministry of Health has found serves to adopt effective measures that guarantee the sustainability of the system and the quality of healthcare for all citizens. And that all these bad practices and decisions that have harmed us, carried out by the previous Valencian Government, disappear once and for all. The first thing must always be the health of the citizens.

Undoubtedly, Minister Gómez and his team have a golden opportunity to do things right for the first time in many years. The first thing, as I have always said, is to have a good diagnosis. Only time will tell if the treatment and the deadlines to solve the problems detected are appropriate.

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