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Operation waiting times vary between 49 and 183 days according to the autonomous region

Waiting times for an external consultation oscillate between 25 and 69 days – according to the Federation of Associations in Defence of Public Health with data for 2015.

The divergence in waiting times comes as a result of the cuts and has become ‘a serious problem for public health’ noted the federation using health ministry data from the minister Dolors Montserrat

These averages ‘are very different’ according to each region, data gathered only among the autonomous regions which makes national comparisons almost impossible and accessing national data leaves much to be desired’ given on occasions ‘they are not offered to the public’

The document also laments the ‘manipulation and massaging of data’ using different accounting techniques, for example ‘when a patient has been waiting a very long time it is reclassified from ‘transitory’ to ‘not-programmed’ and then later returned to ‘transitory’ when the day count returns to zero’

16 Spanish autonomous regions have their own health service and such divergence upsets the patients who ‘are increasingly concerned about the public health system’ and consequently with the effects on social and economic factors, late diagnosis, inequality in accessing these services and overworked medical staff.

‘The continued lack of control is a symptom of the deterioration of our public health service’ noted the federation noting any waiting list reveals a shortage of services.

To correct these imbalances the organisation demands starting from scratch with a basic analysis to establish first priorities and to then assign the corresponding health services, with the full collaboration of patients and citizens and implicated the Government’s management.

A strategic plan to guarantee equality and rationality in waiting lists, establishing priorities and compromises to prioritise surgical interventions and to ensure palliative care when needed, and to ensure that each and every region offer simultaneous health coverage.

This can be done by quantifying the numbers of beds, surgeons, diagnostic measures on demand, opening operating theatres in the afternoon and to develop mobile surgery units and better coordination between First Aid and specialist services to coordinate waiting times.

Not forgetting the work and professionalism of all the health workers and noting however they deserve more rewards and incentives to reach higher objectives and to ensure the Spanish public health services are fully equipped to face the challenges of an ever older generation.