Tuesday, November 24

Euskadi has allocated 338 million euros to date to the fight against the coronavirus

The Department of Health and Osakidetza have so far allocated 338 million euros to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Among the largest expenses of this amount are the 119 that have been dedicated to health products, the 82 for hospital expenses, another 83 for labor costs, in addition to 27 for other current expenses, 24 for investments and 0.8 for pharmaceutical expenses.

This is one of the data provided this morning by the Minister of Health, Gotzone Sagardui, during the presentation of the strategic framework of the Department for this legislature. Sagardui has detailed that “Euskadi and Europe are at a critical moment, in one of the worst scenarios that we could expect.” Despite this, he has stressed that «The situation is not the same as in March, April and May at the hospital or knowledge level. We have that experience. The counselor stressed the “strength” of the Basque health system to face the current scenario.

Sagardui has preferred not to advance any of the possible new measures that are on the table of the Basque Government to contain the advance of the virus. Nor has it responded to criticism from the opposition regarding the delay in adopting some restrictions. “The evolution of the virus sometimes surprises us and we have to take action when the scene changes. We have tried to reconcile work, education and a certain social life. We review the evolution of the pandemic every day and measures are taken based on scientific criteria.

The counselor has announced the creation of a new permanent epidemiological committee “to ensure that the actions to be carried out are in line with those applied in Europe”Although it has not detailed how it will coordinate with the infectious diseases council created by Darpon, which was relegated during the first wave by its predecessor Nekane Murga. Sagardui has assured that the creation of this new committee “Reinforces the importance we give to scientific criteria when making decisions”.

This advisory council is integrated into the new Public Health law that the Government will present to the Basque Parliament during this mandate. A regulation that will reinforce aspects such as alert and rapid response systems for the detection of risks that may pose a threat to the health of the population.

The head of Health has returned to focus on social behaviors. «We have not been able to live with the virus. We have relaxed and the change of season has also been noticed. Where confidence was greater, the problem has been greater. That is why he has asked to “maintain tension” in compliance with the latest measures activated: the perimeter closure of the Basque Country and each and every one of its municipalities, as well as the curfew and the prohibition of social gatherings exceeding 6 people.

The representative of the Basque Government highlighted that more than a million PCR tests have been carried out, “which means that around a quarter of the population of the Basque Country has been traced.” In addition, it has been reported that Osakidetza’s payroll is today a 8.3% higher than a year ago, with an increase of more than 3,000 people. He has also stressed that 600 people collaborate with the work of tracking cases.

Sagardui has presented the master lines of his Department for these four years, which go beyond the coronavirus. To strengthen the Primary Care network, it has announced the creation of a specific sub-directorate, the increase of the workforce with new positions for doctors and nursing staff, prioritize the expansion of MIR and EIR places for pediatrics and community medicine, reinforcement of the administrative areas, the expansion of the portfolio of diagnostic tests that physicians can request, the integration of physiotherapy in the Osakidetza portfolio of services or the promotion of research in Primary Care.

The highest Basque health leader has advanced that measures will be promoted to «Increase face-to-face attention» in Primary as one of its greatest “added values.” This type of care has been relegated by the coronavirus and replaced by telemedicine. The patient is only seen in person when an examination is considered necessary and the doctor understands that the consultation cannot be resolved over the phone.

Sagardui has also announced the continuity of key Osakidetza programs such as cancer screening and the need to “Give a boost” to the reduction of the surgical waiting list to “no more than 30 days” in oncology matters “and no more than 6 months for the rest of surgeries”. Although this will is conditioned to the evolution of the pandemic “that conditions everything.” Above the table is the need to begin to modify the agendas of non-urgent scheduled surgeries if the pressure of the coronavirus forces to do so.

In terms of public employment, he recalled the forecast of Health to convene 4,000 public employment positions through OPE that they want to celebrate annually. The calendar of these examinations, he pointed out, is being agreed with the social agents involved

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