Strikes are planned by primary care doctors in Malaga province and across Andalucía next month if an agreement is not reached with the regional Ministry of Health to ensure immediate improvements in working conditions and pay.
Carmen González Uceda, president of the Primary Care Medical Union (SMP), a new trade union organisation, detailed the demand on Wednesday at a press conference held at the Malaga College of Doctors. The SMP is Andalusian in scope, but is planning on extending its presence throughout Spain.
In addition to the strike planned for January, if negotiations with the Health Ministry do not bear fruit, the SMP will participate in a rally organised by Marea Blanca to be held on Saturday 17 December in the Plaza de la Merced in Malaga to demand improvements in Andalusian healthcare, especially in the primary care sector.
González said that the SMP has been created to defend the interests of family doctors and primary care paediatricians and that they want to do this by reaching agreements with other trade unions.
The SMP is calling for an increase in the number of primary care doctors in order to cope with the workload in health centres and to avoid the flight of medical professionals to other Spanish regions or abroad in search of higher salaries and better working conditions.
With regard to salaries, González said that Andalusian doctors are the fourth worst paid in Spain. "We need to limit workloads and each family doctor should have a maximum of 25 patients a day and five hours to be able to dedicate the rest of the day to other tasks," said the SMP president.