Tuesday, 21 November 2023
Hospital waiting lists have seen a huge jump across Andalucía with 20,000 more patients waiting for surgery compared to a year ago.
Latest figures show there are 192,000 people in the queue for surgery, some 20,000 more than in the same month in 2022. The average wait time is 139 days, according to the regional minstry of health data - making Andalucía the third region in Spain for the longest surgery wait time.
Meanwhile, there are 850,000 people waiting to see a specialist. Although this figure is lower than a year ago, the drop in Andalucía is considerably less than in other regions. Waiting times for appointments with specialists reached 121 days, the longest of all regions except the Canary Islands.
Regional minister of health Catalina García claimed the current Andalusian government has been working through a backlog caused by the previous Socialist government. "The system is working and this is demonstrated by the fact that there are more referrals, more patient discharges and more surgeries," she said.
Spain facing highest ever number of patients waiting for surgery
Nationally, the public health system has once again reached an historic maximum number of patients who are waiting for non-urgent operations. A total of 819,964 people are in the queue, waiting an average 112 days, according to data as of 30 June 2023.
Some 17.4% of them had been on waiting lists for more than six months, with the amount of patients slated for elective surgery increasing by 9.4% compared to June 2022.
While the Covid-19 pandemic caused surgeries to be suspended in the first half of 2020, the number of operations have been slightly recovering, although current figures are still lower than in the first half of the pre-pandemic year, meaning pre-Covid levels are still yet to be reached.
Rafael Ojeda, president of the Andalusian Medical Union, told SUR that the figures have not come as a "surprise" to them. "It is true that there has been a slight increase in health spending in Andalucía, but this increase has been very badly managed," he said.
"There is no investment in primary care, which is in a critical situation. There is no investment in hospital medicine, afternoon consultations are suspended, operating theatres are closed in the morning, doctors are not being recruited," Ojeda added. "That is why we are suffering from such a serious deterioration in Andalucía with the waiting lists."
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