Medical staff demonstrating outside the regional government in Seville last week. / EFE

Andalucía facing indefinite primary health care strike

Primary care doctors, family doctors and paediatricians in health centres and their emergency departments across the region have been called to take part in the strike by two medical professional unions


Andalucía is facing an indefinite strike called by the Union of Doctors and Doctors of Primary Care (SMP) from today, Friday 20 January, due to "the repeated lack" of response from the Andalusian Health Service (SAS) and the regional ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs to their demands.

All Andalusian primary care doctors, family doctors and paediatricians in health centres and their emergency departments have been called to take part in the strike, according to a press release issued by the SMP.

The SMP said that the meetings held over the last four years "have been unsuccessful" in convincing the current government "of the benefits of a well-budgeted primary care, with material resources, organised with common sense and sufficient professionals".

The union is calling for “salaries in line with the level of knowledge, responsibility and hardship required of us.”

"After four years we are still on practically the same salary. They have barely raised the hourly rate for on-call duty and now pay us more for working longer hours, but that is not what we were asking for or what they promised. We wanted justice and equalisation with other professions and positions, with hospital colleagues, with other regions and countries, and reasonable working hours, which in many cases we do not have. We were not asking to work longer hours, although if they are worked, they should be paid better," the SMP statement said.

Urgent care not affected

During the strike, urgent care will not be affected the SMP said after it reached an agreement reached with the SAS on Wednesday.

The union also said that approximately 40 per cent of health care consultations would continue to be provided by primary care doctors and “that the most vulnerable patients and those pathologies that, without constituting an immediate emergency, should be closely monitored.”

The major CSIF union is not backing the walk out. In a statement the President of the CSIF Andalucía health sector, Victorino Girela, said: "We support the demands that lie behind the calls for strikes, but we are not the organisers."

"At the moment our organisation is opting for other types of action to channel our demands and our discontent, such as the rallies we have held and which we plan to continue holding in different parts of Andalucía, because the situation has to be reversed and we cannot go on like this".