Sunday, December 5

Andalusia requests judicial authorization to force workers in nursing homes to carry out PCR

Nursing home workers who reject the Covid-19 test are isolated cases, but enough for the Junta de Andalucía to take action. The Ministry of Health and Families has decided go to court to force the diagnostic test to be done active infection (PDIA) all nursing home staff who have not been vaccinated and also refuse to undergo the established screening.

From the General Directorate of Social and Health Care has sent this week a circular to the districts of Primary Care and Health Areas in which it reports that “in recent days there have been rejections to carry out a screening PDIA due to

part of some workers in residential centers for the elderly and highly dependent people ”. For now, three cases have been located in the province of Huelva, but it is feared that more will emerge.

In the letter, accessed by ABC, the managing directors of the health districts are urged to contact the nursing homes so that send “as soon as possible” detailed information on the identity of the caregivers who have refused to undergo the tests and the center to which they belong. “From the Vice-Ministry of Health and Families it has been decided to request judicial authorization for all those cases of refusal to carry out the established screening PDIA,” announces the internal instruction. This information will be sent to the aforementioned general direction through the case manager nurse in each Andalusian province.

This measure comes after the Andalusian Government has tightened surveillance in the centers for the elderly, mental health and disability in the face of the increase in outbreaks in recent weeks. Nowadays 621 positives have been registered among residents. Although most have the disease in a mild way thanks to the protective shield of the vaccine, sometimes the Covid becomes a death trap.

Three unvaccinated workers in residences in Huelva have refused to take the two established weekly tests

To safeguard vulnerable people living in residences, many of them dependent, chronically ill and multi-pathologicalSince yesterday, all vaccinated workers must undergo tests every two weeks and those who do not have any dose will do so twice a week, as agreed by the Committee of Experts.

However, «we have met some of them who not only do they not get vaccinated but they refuse to get tested. We have had to request judicial authorization to force them “, advanced the general director of Social and Health Care of the Board, Jose Repiso, in an interview with ABC that will be published this weekend. “We can not be permissive with the people who care for the most vulnerable,” justified this person in charge, who defends carrying out regulatory changes to control the personnel of these centers who remain unvaccinated.

In Andalusia 1,009 workers have refused to be immunized, the 2.7% of the workforce of the 1,107 residences in the region. Among the 42,000 users of the social health centers, the percentage drops to 1.1%. Only 473 have given up pricking.

The precedent of the Supreme

Despite the legal loopholes, the Junta de Andalucía does not throw in the towel and persists in the judicial process after the Supreme Court dismissed yesterday the appeal presented by Castilla-La Mancha to make periodic tests mandatory in senior centers. It confirms a previous order of the Superior Court of Justice of said community because the request made was orphaned of sufficient and clear information to adopt a measure that affects the fundamental right to personal privacy.

“We cannot be permissive with the people who care for the most vulnerable”, warns the general director José Repiso

In order not to leave loose ends in the judicial process, the Board will provide the Superior Court of Justice of Andalusia with exhaustive information on the worker who declines to take the test, the center and “other information that is considered of interest for the approach of each situation.” Nursing home tests are regulated by an order of August 4 that reviews the sanitary and preventive measures of public health in the socio-sanitary and social centers. “This regulation is based on the current epidemiological situation and on the latest recommendations” agreed between the Ministry and the communities, specifies the internal circular.

The alternative of dismissal

Vaccination against Covid is voluntary in Spain. But Andalusia, along with four other autonomous communities, requested in writing to the Ministry of Health that inoculation was mandatory for healthcare professionals and nursing home employees, as France has established. The very employers of the geriatric sector have claimed that immunization is a requirement to work in these centers. The Ministry of Health is reluctant to force vaccination and has limited itself to recommending that more tests be carried out and that the transfer of post of unvaccinated personnel be evaluated to avoid infections.

While waiting for the TSJA to rule on the request of the Board to force to submit to a PCR, the Administration and businessmen in the sector would be left with the alternative of dispensing with them. Labor law sources consulted by ABC consider that there is “a clear legal margin” for dismissal from of those employees who refuse to submit to a diagnostic test. The dismissal could be justified by disciplinary reasons, by supervening ineptitude – the worker is no longer fit for the performance of his function – or by mere corporate responsibility, since the managers of the residences can allege that they give priority to the safety of the patients on the labor rights acquired by workers.

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