Health officials in the emirate are working on designing health district management teams. Of the eight director positions, the three main ones were announced on October 23: those in Oviedo, Gijon and Aviles. The remaining calls, which were also scheduled to be published last month, will finally be published – barring last-minute snags – in the week starting today. In healthcare settings, the slow pace at which this process progresses is surprising. However, behind the scenes, some names of directors have already been taken and an almost unanimous confirmation is taken for granted: of all the current directors, none of the eight will continue in office, making this renewal of directors the most profound since its implementation in 2002, marking the transfer of powers in Health issues to Asturias.
This Thursday the deadline ends. These selective operations rely on free recruitment, but calls are public and open. In practice, the usual thing is that favored people are invited to appear from leadership offices. The management competitions for the three main areas were published in the emirate’s Official Gazette (BOPA) four weeks ago. The deadline for submitting applications is 20 working days, starting from the next day, which means it will end next Thursday. Strangely, and compared to the previous well-prepared change sets, there are only a few names circulating on this occasion. The less optimistic say: “There are few seats.”
Ephemeral management in Oviedo. Common names? The most mentioned are the three, placed in the top three most relevant positions. Oviedo doctor Beatriz López Muñiz – who has been deputy director of Valdicilla Hospital (Santander) for nearly eight years – has been appointed to the management of the Oviedo Health District, which includes the Hospital of the Central University of Asturias (HUCA). As this newspaper has learned, the current director of Region IV, Beatriz Lopez Bonga, who was appointed last April, plans to return to her position as a family doctor. Last month, after learning through LA NUEVA ESPAÑA that Dr. López Bonga would not continue in her position, the unions of the Oviedo Health District – the Fourth Health District Staff Council – published a statement in which they regretted her departure. “Convergence and the ability to dialogue” He pointed out that not enough time has passed “for us to be able to see the results of close management.”
The importance of Cabueñes. For the Gijón region, the preferred candidate is María Luisa Sánchez Nuñez, current Deputy Director of Basic Services of HUCA and former Director of Health Services (2007-2011) (2nd rank) of the Principality Health Service (CESPA). In the current situation, the management of Gijón has more weight than traditional because the Cabueñes Hospital is immersed in a process of reform and expansion that will increase the difficulties of daily work and will require success in some strategic decisions. Yolanda López Mínguez, Gijón’s current manager, was appointed on the same day as Beatriz López Bonga. It was noteworthy at the time that these appointments were made less than two months before the regional elections scheduled for May 28.
Back in Aviles. In the Avilés Health District, many votes are attributed to Cantabrian Miguel Javier Rodríguez Gómez, who was Director of HUCA, Director of the Health District of Gijon and Minister of Health of Cantabria. If this prediction comes true, Dr. Rodriguez will complete the rare journey of managing the three large hospitals in Asturias.
Mining basins. The remaining director positions as indicated will be published in BOPA this week. The name that resonates insistently is José Antonio Vicino González, since 2017 Director of Healthcare and Public Health (number two) in the Oviedo District. He is considered the favorite to manage the Cudal region, which will likely be combined with the Nalón region in the upcoming revision of the health map of Asturias.
Other candidates. The other name on the table is Pedro Herce Alvarez. He was Director of the Serralana Hospital (Cantabria) for four years after a long career at the Red Cross Hospital in Gijon. In health groups you are assigned to manage an area. Another professional who appears to have obtained a relevant management position is Dr. María José Villanueva Ordonez, an emergency physician who held a management position at Sespa and who disappeared in the recent restructuring of the organization mentioned above. You can take up a relevant position in the health field in Oviedo or manage some regions.
Slow process. The Ministry of Health’s initial expectations were that the new management teams would be appointed “in December” and that they could start working at full capacity at the beginning of 2024. However, the pace in some health areas has become slower.
Draft new health map coming soon. Regarding the review of the health map, Health Minister Conchita Saavedra announced last Saturday that the draft prepared by her ministry is “very advanced.” He added: “I hope that starting in December we will be able to send it to the Council and the political groups, as well as to the rest of the actors involved. We want it to be a consensual document.”
There will be no closure. Dr. Saavedra emphasized that with this regulatory reform, “no hospital, no primary care, no device of any kind will be closed in Asturias.” “The only thing we will do is reorganize the entire organizational and administrative structure above,” he added. The current health structure consists of eight regions with their origins in Jarrio (Cunha), Cangas del Narcea, Aviles, Oviedo, Gijon, Arrillondas, Meres and Riano (Langrío). Everything indicates that the current eight health regions will undergo a merger that will leave them at four. As a result, some of the district managers who will be selected in the coming weeks will see their hierarchical status adjusted downwards.
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