The Andalusian health service (SAS) has 141 physiotherapists working in Malaga province, but there should be at least 1,000 according to recommendations from the World Health Organisation which suggests one physiotherapist for every 1,000 inhabitants. Coinciding with World Physiotherapy Day on 8 September, the Csif-Sanidad Malaga union has warned of the shortfall in Andalucía as a whole and in Malaga in particular.
In this province, the ratio is one SAS physiotherapist for every 11,564 inhabitants, and in Andalucía there are 808 in total, which is one for every 10,382 inhabitants, according to Csif. It says this shortage is causing long delays for patients to be seen and treated and many are turning to the private sector because they need urgent attention. The union also claims that patients are signed off work for longer because of the delays in receiving treatment, so there is an additional social cost.
Compared with last year, there are 72 more physios in Andalucía at the moment (14 of them in Malaga province and 20 in Granada), but even so this is "clearly inadequate to meet the need for treatment", says Csif, also pointing out that although physios are important members of multidisciplinary teams to ensure people's wellbeing throughout their lives, "their presence in health centres is minimal.
For Csif, "more physiotherapists are needed in hospitals, for home visits and for chronic patients, and the plan to expand the services in many health services should also be taken into account, with tasks such as re-educating cardiovascular patients, those with urinary incontinence, alterations in swallowing and neonatology, among other specialities".
The need for more physiotherapists in health centres in order to provide better attention to the population has also been stressed on numerous occasions by the College of Physiotherapists of Andalucía, whose president is Juan Manuel Nieblas, an expert from Malaga.