Just two months ago, the Balearic health service threatened, again, with suspend vacations to health personnel in the absence of personnel. In December, Son Espases, the reference hospital in the Balearic Islands, already did so to attend the wave of coronavirus infections. The job boards are sold out and there are deficit categories. In summer, the Ibsalut even made a call to hire nurses from the peninsula. However, the pressing lack of health professionals in the Balearic Islands has not stopped the Balearic Government of Francina Armengol in the application of its linguistic policy – which imposes Catalan to work in the public administration – and has just excluded thousands from job boards from
workers because they do not have a Catalan language qualification, while the call for a multitude of necessary examinations, such as those of primary care doctor, remains paralyzed, faced with the dilemma of have to make a steak by the linguistic requirement knowing that you cannot afford it.
For now, the Balearic Health Service (IB-Salut) has already has excluded 13 dentists of the competitions to fill vacant positions of statutory personnel of this category in the area of primary attention. The call was published on July 15 and, among the requirements, the B1 level of Catalan was required. Occupational therapists, dental hygienists and opticians-optometrists have been asked for the same level, and in the case of social workers, a higher level, B2.
One of those affected by Catalan is a dentist who works as an interim at IB-Salut and who prefers not to reveal her name. She has been preparing for this call for years but the surprise came when she went to sign up online and the computer system expelled her directly when she said that she did not have the B1 title in Catalan. «He would not let me follow the steps to complete the application, so I consulted with my lawyer and he recommended that I lie and say that I have the title and, later in the allegations, write a letter saying that he considered it unfair that I was prevented from attending to the call. What sense does it make if I am already working for the IB-Salut as interim! “, Argues this dentist, who denounces that the demand of Catalan in the job boards and the oppositions imposed by the Executive of the socialist Francina Armengol” goes against the free movement of healthcare professionals within the National Health System ».
So far, Health has passed the language requirement Through a two-year moratorium, which it included in its decree requiring the Catalan language to health professionals in 2018. The problem is that it was appealed by two unions, the TSJB partially and totally annulled it, including that moratorium. Therefore, Catalan is once again an unavoidable requirement to take the oppositions or register in the pockets.
Dispense with Catalan
Consulted medical sources predict a problem when competitions of deficit categories are called soon, “since there will be many vacancies because a good part of the applicants do not have the Catalan title” and the lack of professionals will not be solved, which continues to be patched up with eventual contracts in which, paradoxically, Catalan is not required considering that the supervening needs are above the requirement.
The language barrier also extends to the IB-Salut job boards. «The situation is so surreal that it so happens that there are exhausted pockets and the IB-Salut has to open a subsidiary stock exchange and dispense with the requirement of Catalan to find someone who can work ”, explain the same sources.
This week, more than 2,000 orderlies, 12 nurses and about 40 dental workers and hygienists have stayed out of the new cut in the IB-Salut job bank for not accrediting the B1 level of Catalan. There are dozens of pages with names and surnames of people who will lose their opportunity to get a permanent job in the Balearic public health. Those excluded complain that the option to present the degree after the deadline has not been given or that they have not even had the deference to give advance notice, after many have been working piecework during the pandemic.
“There are a large deficit in almost all health categories and a great demand for social workers who cannot be attended to due to lack of personnel and it is all due to the obligation to prove a Catalan qualification. They are destroying our health ”, criticizes Mos Movem, the platform that was born to demand that Catalan be a merit and not a requirement to work in the public health of the Islands.
From the IB-Salut they explain that current regulations are being applied and that “the law and the decree govern.” It ensures that the deficit categories are exempt from Catalan and that there is a two-year moratorium to certify the level of Catalan required for those who pass the oppositions, against the publications that are being posted on its website where candidates are directly excluded without Catalan.
“What happens in Baleares is a guirigay», Explain health workers asked by ABC in reference to the linguistic regulations. In the previous government of the PP (2011-2015) Catalan was a merit to work in the Balearic Autonomous Administration. With the arrival of the so-called Progress Pact formed by PSOE, Podemos and Més, the Public Function Law was modified so that Catalan was a requirement and, therefore, mandatory to access a public position. However, this Law established exceptions, mainly for hiring in the IB-Salut.
The pressure of the partners of Francina Armengol, the nationalists of Més, led to the approval of a decree that regulated the requirement of Catalan for health personnel. Behind the strong social rejection, the Executive lowered the required levels to each professional category and gave a period of two years to obtain the title. It was also agreed that no health worker would be inadmissible due to the requirement, and if he did not accredit it after this time, he would be penalized without the right to transfers and to receive a professional career.
Against this decree two resources were put and the ruling of the TSJB caused the annulment of the regulations, including the two-year moratorium. In this way, the decree remains partially in force, so that the requirement is a requirement, but it is no longer allowed to prove it later, once the opposition appeal is approved, but must be proven before.
“The absurdity of this case is that, thus applying the decree, it is more restrictive than the Civil Service Law itself, which allows exceptions to the requirement of Catalan” when the care provision may be affected by the lack or insufficiency of professionals. This has been the norm in the hiring of doctors and nurses by all progressive governments, and it has also been applied to exempt heads and managerial positions from accrediting Catalan, “denounces an affected person.
Meanwhile, the Balearic Government and the IB-Salut have known for more than a year that the Catalan Decree on public health is neither valid nor sufficient to adapt to the Law or to guarantee selective processes, but it has not done anything. The consequences are already being seen: The ongoing processes that were still in time to request it have required Catalan; While calls for new processes have been paralyzed, despite the fact that the situation is unsustainable for IB-Salut, who deals every day with the alarming shortage of doctors and nurses and see how the places are left uncovered.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism