Saturday, May 27

Night CT and surgeries in support centers, Madrid’s crash plan to reduce waiting lists

Having a knee arthroscopy can cost the user a wait of 133 days if he does it at the Ramón y Cajal Hospital, 34 if it is La Paz, or 56 if his hospital is the Clinic. A hip replacement can take a 12-day wait at Jiménez Díaz, or four months at La Princesa. But before going under the knife, you still need some diagnostic test. An MRI, for example: they can go from 16 days at Gregorio Marañón to 48 at Ramón y Cajal. It is only part of the puzzle of the waiting lists, which in Madrid are noticing the effects of the activity stoppage during the pandemic:

more than 500,000 patients are waiting to see a specialist, 153,000 to have a diagnostic test, and 96,000 to enter the operating room. And according to the medical unions, they are just the tip of the iceberg of what is going to emerge in a few months.

The data is disturbing: in September – the last month with published figures – 500,366 people waited to see their specialist doctor, on average 44.2 days. But 236,000 had to wait more than three months to be seen. In September 2019, before the pandemic upset any statistics, there were 442,328 people from Madrid pending an appointment with an external consultation.

Depends on the center

Depending on the center, the wait can vary, and a lot: for a dermatology consultation, there is an average delay of 31 days at the Gregorio Marañón and 53.5 days at the Clinic. The visit to Gynecology can take 80 days in Ramón y Cajal, 62 in La Paz, 43 in October 12, and 27 in Gregorio Marañón. However, being seen in medical oncology is a matter of 14 days at the Clinic, 13 on October 12 and 5 at Gregorio Marañón, just to name a few.

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At the time of doing diagnostic tests –Something very common after seeing the specialist–, there are 153,304 people on the waiting list at present, and on average they have a delay of 51.6 days; however, almost half, 67,570 patients, have to wait more than 3 months for the test.


Again, a colonoscopy It can be a matter of 22 days in the Marañón, or 110 days in the Clinic. And one ultrasound It can take 34 days in the Prince of Asturias Hospital in Alcalá de Henares, 81 days in La Paz or 26 in Ramón y Cajal. And mammograms mean a wait of 112 days in the Clinic, 27 in the Marañón, 43 in the Prince of Asturias or 33 in La Paz.

Once these deadlines have elapsed, surgery is reached which, again, maintains a significant number of patients waitingto. Specifically, 95,941 patients. On average, they wait 86 days for their intervention. But there are 12.4 percent of the total, 10,214 patients, who have to wait more than six months before being operated on.

The number of people waiting has not changed scandalously since 2019: in September of that year there were 80,013 people who made up this list. But then, those with a delay of more than 180 days were only 613 patients; now they are 16 times more.

Among the surgeries that are included in the waiting list are: knee arthroscopies, for which you can wait from just a month in La Paz, to about four months in the Puerta de Hierro-Majadahonda Hospital or in the Ramón y Cajal Hospital. Another very widespread test, the hip prosthesis, presents delays that can range from 12 days of the Jiménez Díaz Foundation, to 120 of La Princesa.

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In the Ministry of Health they are aware of the problem. «The different waves of the Covid-19 pandemic have had a negative impact on the ordinary activity of hospitals and, therefore, on the waiting lists “, the health officials confess, who insist that this type of delay” occurs only in non-urgent processes. “

Prioritize patients

In order to reduce them as much as possible, the situation in each hospital is being studied so that «according to their needs, establish support and reinforcement measures ». In addition, the tests and consultations of patients who require it due to their ailment are being prioritized.

And in addition, there is a shock plan, with an allocated budget of 65 million euros in the 2022 budget. It will be used to reinforce the measures that have been applied so far: on the one hand, the so-called extraordinary activity in each hospital –Interventions or tests in the afternoon or even at night, such as CT scans, and on weekends–; the other is the referral of patients to support centers –private– to perform diagnostic tests or surgeries.

“The waves of the pandemic have had a negative impact on hospital activity,” acknowledges Health

In the Madrid region, health officials insist, there are the least average delays to be operated: 86.22 days of average waiting for surgeries in Madrid and 148 days on average in Spain, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Health, which corresponds as of December 2020.

Regarding the almost 800,000 Madrilenians waiting for some kind of medical attention, The Ministry of Health offers the number of patients per 1,000 inhabitants in this wait: 34 to consult with specialists – with eleven autonomous communities with worse data than Madrid – and 9.7 per 1,000 inhabitants awaiting surgery – the region is the third best in Spain in this percentage.

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200,000 more in 8 months

But the figures do not convince the unions. Mariano Martín-Maestro, from CC.OO., calls for measures against this “social wound.” Remember that the Covid parenthesis has left many other unchecked latent diseases. “Since January 2021, the waiting lists have increased by 26 percent”, they denounce: if then there were 552,152 people from Madrid who were waiting for a consultation, a test or an operation, today there are 749,611: almost 200,000 more in eight months. He claims to keep the support staff that was hired in his day, and that is still essential.

Amyts: “More cases will emerge, after having been stopped by the Covid: hernias, vesicles, cataracts will come …”

The numbers are unmatched, he insists Julián Ezquerra, physician and AMYTS spokesperson. But in addition, it is feared that it is only the tip of the iceberg: the return to normality in Primary Care will translate into requests for tests and consultations for those patients who “are going to surface after having been underground, because Covid it has stopped: now the hernias, the vesicles, the cataracts, the hips will come … ».

“The problem of the waiting list begins at the first level: in Primary Care”, he describes. Yes, there doctors’ agendas «are already overflowing under normal conditionsNow that people have lost their fear and are going back, instead of getting an appointment in 4-5 days, they have it for two weeks later. Which leads many patients to “show up without an appointment at the health center, where they are sent, or go to the hospital emergency room, collapsing them.”

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