The saturation of public health care increases pressure and waiting lists in the private sector.

The website the saturation of public health care, both hospitals from primary care centers (CSP) and in particular his emergency services, led to a transfer of patients to the private health care, who sees his pressure on care, your waiting lists (although they are still shorter than in the public sector) and, also, their economic incentives.

Throughout Spain, the health insurance increased by 7% in 2022 and gained 10.543 million profit, according to Spanish Union of Insurance and Reinsurance Entities. (Unespa). Catalonia, in first place, then Madrid are the two regions experiencing the strongest growth.

“In mutuals, we are starting to have a lot of pressure. I would not speak of collapse or “overbooking”, but there are many surgeons who used to schedule a visit 15 days in advance and who today are no longer able to schedule it. . a month and a half “, certify Father Torner, president of the section of doctors with free insurance of the European Union. Col.legi Oficial de Metges de Barcelona (COMB). Of “end of covid-19”, when everything started to open up, private health care experienced, according to Torner, a “growth of waiting lists”.

“With the covid, patients with double cover [pública y privada] have grown a lot, at least 10 to 15 percent. Considering the difficulties of access to the public, many people have registered with mutual insurance companies, in particular for solve daily problems. And if you are relieved of the mutual insurance, the waiting lists increase, ”explains the orthopedic surgeon.

In Catalonia, about 32% of citizens pay a private health insurance fund. The territory has a a long mutualist tradition, but the underfunding of public health care and, very specifically, the the lack of resources in the primary fueled this trend. “If the private sector did not exist, the public sector would not succeed”, warns this doctor.

Barcelona reached last November the all-time high residents with mutual insurance: 40% of Barcelona residents now pay for private insurance, according to the latest survey data health survey of the municipality, with figures for 2021. The Governor’s new budgets, which increase by €1,284 million for the “Health” portfolio (up 11%), and in particular the 100 million that will be dedicated to the reduction of waiting lists in the public sector, one of the challenges to be met is the following curb this trend.

Less accessibility

Audience saturation also affects the accessibility from the private sector, although there are no figures on waiting lists or on the increase in the number of patients. “It is not as easy as before to get a visit”, Torner assures it. ” It’s a general impression that many specialists, instead of giving you a conventional – non-urgent – visit, instead of giving it to you in one or two weeks, they still give it to you in a month, says this doctor, who nevertheless specifies that, in private health care, people directly to the specialist without going through the family doctor, which reduces waiting times.

But, in addition, the emergency services of private hospitals and mutual insurance companies again have the same volume as in 2019, before covid-19. “Because we have so much surgical activity and emergencies are not scheduled, Sometimes patients are no longer occupy a box, and that means we can’t be as nimble,” he says. Joan Jeremiah, manager of the Clinica Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona.

“Pre-covid” activity levels.

The private has more activity than the last two years because, although there is no more “covid”, there is lots of flu and, in addition, the system is already treating patients[with[avecthe cancer, with diabetes) who have not been taken care of during the pandemic. ” We have found many people with complications. That’s why we have more activity. Once the confinement was over, the emergencies were reduced. people had I’m afraid to go to the doctor, and now that’s not the case anymore,” he says for his part. Noel Bordon, head of the emergency department HM Hospital Nou Delfos (Barcelona).

Despite this, Bordón assures us that, even if “the congestion of the public sector does not help”, the Nou Delfos has no problem neither with pressure of care nor space, and that does not look “far” like the public health system. He says the same thing Lluis Monset, president of the Catalan Association of Salvation Entities (Aces), the employers’ association for private health care in Catalonia. ” There is a increasing policies, but this is due to different factors. First, that the accessibility of the public is not good. Also with the wealth level of certain areas. And finally, the pandemic has changed a lot of things: maybe people consider themselves more protected with double coverage,” Monset reflects. He denies, like Bordón, that there are more waiting lists in private health care. (“this practically does not exist”, that he specifies), but he recognizes that there are “more people” in the emergency roombut because it is “natural peak” of each year.

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