May 20, 2024

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Sara Jurita (PSC): “Municipalities must have a greater role in the health system”

Sara Jurita (PSC): “Municipalities must have a greater role in the health system”

The Catalan Socialists Party (PSC) was the most voted force in the recent elections to the Catalan Parliament. But this victory did not translate into Salvador Illa, its candidate and former Minister of Health, joining the state presidency. In these elections, it is not entirely excluded that an agreement will be reached between the two large pro-independence parties, the ERC and the Junts, and the Socialists, and therefore the program of this formation has the possibility of application. For this reason, PlantaDoce spoke with Sara Jurita, Secretary of Health of the PSC.

Jorita is an economist from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), specializing in health economics at New York University. He began his career teaching at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas of Mexico and then joined the Barcelona Public Health Agency. also He was part of the Accounting Department of the Val d'Hebron Hospital in Barcelona and the Economics Department of the Catalan Institute of Health (ICS).. His CV also highlights the coordination of projects in the Health and Social Union of Catalonia.

The Minister of Health of the Catalan Socialists defends to PlantaDoce the need for increased participation of municipalities, workers and users of the health system, as well as changes in roles in primary care centers through the incorporation of new professional profiles.

Question: What is your assessment of the outgoing Legislative Council from a health standpoint?

Answer: Our balance is crucial. In recent years, the health system has suffered a lot in every sense of the word, due to the pandemic, but also afterwards. Accessibility problems persist, starting with primary care. Introduction of new technologies, which should be PlusIt was an obstacle to existence. If we don't improve access, what happens is that many people go to mutual insurance companies to get more immediate attention.

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Q: Can you detail what you mean when you talk about accessibility deficits?

a: I mean access to primary care, personal access, waiting lists for surgical or specialized tests… There is difficulty, delay in access, which is something we have to improve. Then, we also have to improve financing and see if we can improve the efficiency of the system with our own resources. There are some studies that estimate this inefficiency at 30%.

Q: What is the position of the PSC regarding the professional reclassification of Catalan healthcare workers who were exposed after the protests against the new ICS agreement?

a: Roles must be reviewed. Naturally, agreements and improvements related to the workforce must be implemented, because it is true that professionals have suffered a lot in recent years in terms of excessive stress. We will always agree to develop and improve your business conditions. But we also believe it is worth rethinking the roles of primary care professionals and their role in all processes. The opinion of health professionals should be more prominent. We advocate for the inclusion of physicians and healthcare professionals in the decision-making process. To sum it up: better working conditions of course, but also rethinking roles and more participation.

Q: What role change are we talking about?

a: Primary care is of great importance. Anything that involves improving the provision of primary health care means improvements in the health of citizens. At PSC we emphasize the need to improve resources and professionalism. We understand that we must rethink the composition of teams, integrate other emotional support professionals and remove bureaucracy. We can free doctors and nurses from many of the bureaucratic tasks they already perform. We can incorporate the patient manager persona, for example, as a possible way to improve the effectiveness of care based on each care role.

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Question: With Ministry of Health data available, it has been confirmed that Catalonia led the expansion of primary care in 2023. Do you think the number of centers available needs to be expanded or is it a question of the efficiency of the existing centres?

a: The most important leg is primary care. We want to strengthen the existing centers and review their dissemination. The health map must be updated. That they are still missing and that they should be reconsidered is certain, because even in Barcelona they are missing, among other things, because the population in Catalonia has not stopped growing.

Q: How do you evaluate public-private cooperation in Catalonia with regard to health?

a: Historically, Catalonia has had a network of aid services supported by city councils, non-profit entities or the church. When health care powers were transferred to the autonomous region, it was decided to complement the public health care show with a concert. We believe that municipalities should have a more important role in managing the system. We refer to models such as Hospital del Mar or Hospital Sant Pau. The Catalan lands are full of this type of health unions.

Q: With regard to the purely private sphere?

a: Mutuality is another thing. We have no problem with citizens contracting with their own mutual insurance company, but we are aware that the fact that the number of mutual insurance contracts in Catalonia exceeds the Spanish average is a result of the significant improvement in healthcare. That is why we must strengthen the public health system. Our commitment is to provide high-quality, comprehensive public health care, without compromising the existence of public-private collaborations, as happened during the pandemic with the development of vaccines.

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Q.: With all that said, can we then confirm that the Peace and Security Council focuses its program on participation?

a: We think that in terms of engagement, there are three legs that are left dangling to some extent. The first is the local scientist, who knows very well what is happening in his immediate reality; The other is that of professionals, because they are the ones who know when something is working or not working, and the other leg is the patient. Yes, it is important that these three actors are gaining increasing importance.