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Healthcare workers protest over poor conditions and ‘mismanagement’

Nurses gather at health department over precarious contracts, while Hospital del Mar staff say they are "at their limit"

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26 January 2022 01:53 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Healthcare workers are demonstrating across Barcelona this week over poor working conditions.

Tuesday evening saw about 150 nurses, midwives and physiotherapists gather in front of the department of health to demand improvements in professional conditions. 

Convened by the SATSE union under the slogan “Enough is enough," they hope the protest will be the start of a series of demonstrations aimed at achieving "real solutions." 

SATSE spokesperson Rosa Maria Famadas denounced the "precarious" contracts given to nurses. 

Famadas warned of burnout from physical and psychological exhaustion from being overburdened. She added that some workers sometimes have to prioritize patients to give care to. "The feeling of coming home without having done everything you have to do is very hard," she lamented.

Hospital del Mar workers protest

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, workers at the Parc de Salut Mar, a wide-ranging health campus that includes the Hospital del Mar, one of Barcelona’s biggest hospitals, are demonstrating against the “mismanagement” of the center.

The medical workers there plan to block the Passeig Marítim road along the Barcelona coast three times on Wednesday coinciding with the three changes of workers’ shifts: in the morning, afternoon, and evening. 

Demonstrating workers say they are "at their limit" and refuse to continue "suffering" the consequences of poor organization. They also warn that if the Parc de Salut Mar management does not listen to their demands, they do not rule out going on strike. 

Chairman of the committee Xavi Tarragón explained that the pandemic has only worsened "many years of cuts." 

"We have to do double shifts and work many overtime hours," he lamented, claiming that in all of 2021, workers put in a total of 35,000 hours of overtime.

Among the main points of contention of the medical professionals are the overwhelming of the A&E unit, a situation made even worse in winter. As a result, the service is “chronically” saturated, reflected in the fact that some patients wait over 24 hours for service, they say. 

Tarragón points out that this "unacceptable" situation could end up seriously harming patient care, increasing the risk of "making mistakes."

Management's arguments

Management at the Hospital del Mar pointed out in response to the workers’ demands that, "like the other centers in Catalonia,” they are going through a very complex situation with an exceptionally high number of patients to look after with Covid-19 and other pathologies.

They argue that the problems of the Hospital del Mar facility must be placed in the context of "the already known structural shortage of nurses throughout the health sector." 

They also point out that four months ago a collective agreement was approved, signed by the majority of the members of the workers’ committee, agreeing a "substantial" improvement in working conditions that places it "among one of the most advanced in the sector."

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  • Health workers protest outside Hospital del Mar, January 26, 2022 (by Eli Don)

  • Health workers protest outside Hospital del Mar, January 26, 2022 (by Eli Don)

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