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Fury as health service “at breaking point” 

Doctors threaten walk-out.

The health service in Tenerife and the Canary Islands is said once again to be in total disarray with medical staff threatening strikes.

The Canary Government last week narrowly averted a walk-out by doctors who said they were totally fed-up with working conditions and what they describe as “broken promises”.

They only called off their threat after agreeing to wait two more weeks so further talks could take place on the key issues.

These include the request of the Government for medical staff to work an extra half an hour each day without pay to try and catch up on a backlog of patients waiting for specialist appointments and operations.

The conflict has been in the news again at the same time as reports of continued pro-blems at Tenerife’s hospitals where the urgency department is said to be bursting at the seams.

National papers have been reporting that at the end of the day, up to 70 patients have not been seen in the emergency department and stretchers are once again being put in corridors. It is alleged that if there are no stretchers there on one particular day, it is only because they have been put elsewhere “out of sight”.

The Ministry of Health of the Canary Government managed to negotiate the truce with doctors following an emergeny meeting with officials of the Medical Associatin in both provinces.

Staff say they have been unhappy for months over various problems, including the blocking of careers and non-recruitment.

They say emergency departments are totally overwhelmed although the Government promises it is trying to rectify the matter with new shift patterns. In addition, it is prepared to negogiate with private clinics to help prevent bed blocking and cancellation of operations.

However, unions are very unhappy about the delays in the full opening of the north and south hospitals in Tenerife and say they cannot yet see an end to the problems.

The Canary Government says it is willing to talk and negotiate and to look at solving issues, as well as reviewing staffing.

Meantime, unions at the University Hospital of Candelaria in Santa Cruz say the emergency situation has been unbearable since December. They say operations are being suspended to make more beds available but as soon as ten are vacated, ten are filled up again.

Staff are said to be working under unacceptable enormous pressure and are at breaking point. They too want an urgent solution.

What do you think of the health service in the Canaries? Is it at breaking point? Has your operation been cancelled or have you been left on a stretcher in a corridor? We would welcome your letters for a health special in our next edition so please send us an email at info@tenerifenews.org.es