were needed more ‘yeses’ than ‘noes’ and it was two socialist communities that, by one vote difference, yesterday saved Ione Belarra from taking another disappointment in her powers in the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2030. The minister managed to get ahead yesterday – by ten votes in favor against nine against – his proposal for an Agreement on common criteria for accreditation and quality of the centers and services of the System for Autonomy and Care for Dependency (SAAD), the document that establishes what the residences for the elderly and people with disabilities in the nearest future.
The change in the direction of the vote in Extremadura and Asturias was crucial for the Social Rights proposal to go ahead.
In the previous Territorial Council, last May, the agreement did not prosper. Belarra did not conquer yesterday, however, the also socialist Castilla-La Mancha. The president of the region, Emiliano Garcia-Page, was very critical of this agreement and called for a Conference of Presidents to agree between the autonomous communities and the central government that the State cannot regulate and impose on the autonomous communities the provision of new services without an increase in funding to cover the bills. “We must avoid that policy of ‘I invite and you pay’,” said the regional president.
Nor did Catalonia and the Basque Country vote in favor –for competition reasons– as well as Galicia, Andalusia, Ceuta, Castilla y León, Murcia and Madrid. The latter, in addition, announced after the meeting that it was going to apply its own residential model that “guarantees access to the system for all people in a situation of dependency and facilitates the free choice of users.” The Minister of Family, Youth and Social Policy, Concepción Dancausa, considered the proposal “unacceptable” of the ministry for not having the necessary financing. Along the same lines, the councilor from Murcia, Isabel Franco, declared that she did not have the necessary budget allocation for its implementation. In addition, both regions regretted that the new model was approved with the vote against of ten communities that accumulate 71% of the Spanish population.
The Government’s proposal does not convince unions, employers and families either. “What worries me the most are the people who are already living in residences and will see their rates increase due to the increase in ratios,” explains Cinta Pascual, president of the Business Circle for People Care (Ceaps). Ignacio Fernández-Cid, president of the Business Federation of Assistance to Dependency (FED), also moves along this line, calculating that, with the new model, prices will go up 50%, to the point that users will pay a thousand euros more each month. “What they are going to achieve is that the large dependents who cannot pay it go home,” he criticizes.
lack of funding
Pascual, for his part, although he believes that the agreement approved yesterday is substantially better than the ministry’s first proposal, he is also concerned about the lack of funding. The vote, she says, very narrowly, “is a pity”, because it shows “that many communities they don’t believe in the deal». And in the end, he insists, they are the ones who have to adapt the centers to the proposed model. «What has been achieved? That there is a park of obsolete residences with exorbitant prices that cannot be paid, “laments Fernández-Cid.
The relatives of the users of residences, for their part, do not support the ministry either. The State Platform of Organizations of Relatives and Users of Residences -explains its spokesman, Paulino Campos- does not agree with the proposed ratios, they believe that the maximum number of places is excessive and that the individual rooms that will have to be in each center are insufficient. “It’s disappointing,” he maintains.
The new model, however, does feature the bapproval of other associations and organizationsas is the case of the Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (Cermi), the Spanish Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology (SEGG) and the State Board for the Elderly.
Before 2030, residence halls must limit their places to between 75 and 120 according to the areas in which they are located. Those for people with disabilities will only have up to 50 seats. In addition, the centers must be structured around coexistence units of a maximum of 15 people.
The restraints will also be eliminated before June 2025 and the minimum ratios of personnel by places will be raised from 0.31 in 2023 to 0.43 in 2029
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism