What the protests of the doctors did not achieve almost eight years ago, some circumstances of shortage of personnel that will be aggravated in the next years can get it now. The regional Ministry of Health of the Principality yesterday expressed its willingness to postpone the mandatory retirement age of doctors, currently set at the age of 65, to a maximum age of 70 in the specialties with greater shortage of physicians. Another option that the Health Administration is considering, which consists of increasing the volume of admissions at the University of Oviedo, is viewed reluctantly by academic authorities. "To form a MIR in Asturias does not mean that he/she is going to stay here", argued the dean of the Faculty, Alfonso López Muñiz.
"We are willing to relax the application of the regulation, giving priority to specialties such as general medicine, pediatrics, radiology, anesthesia, in which there are greater problems of coverage", Francisco del Busto, health regional minister, told this newspaper, confirming what the director general of Health Planning, Concepción Saavedra, had said a few hours before.
Del Busto expressed the intention of his Department to start a negotiation with the unions to give way to a situation anticipated by LA NUEVA ESPAÑA the day before yesterday, on Sunday: the shortage of doctors in Asturian public health, which according to the Principality will reach in the next years "critical" levels due to "the retirements of the first doctors trained at the University of Oviedo". The study by the Ministry of Health indicates that up 1300 doctors will retire before 2025, one-third of the total staff of doctors of the Sespa. The future shortage will, however, be uneven in some specialties.
Another solution studied by the Health Administration is focused on increasing the number of students of the Faculty of Medicine. But in this area the agreements can be more complex. This is because the University of Oviedo does not find this measure effective. "The offer of Asturias of MIR positions isn´t enough even for the doctors who finish the degree". According to López Muñiz, it is necessary to establish incentives that make it attractive for doctors to stay in the region. In any case, he reasoned, the approach must be made at the state level - "because the lack of doctors is a common problem in all regions" - and under a "serious and rigorous approach". Training a doctor is expensive, the dean of Medicine says, but it is more expensive to increase the number of admissions at the universities without matching them to the offer of MIR positions. López Muñiz warned that any decision in this line implies "a spending increase". For example, "we would have to call for more positions of teachers and doctors".
"The number of doctors who are trained in Spain is greater than the available MIR positions", Alfonso López Muñiz insisted, who stressed the importance of the increase from 24 to 41 faculties of medicine in a few years, from 4,000 to 7,000 physicians trained every year to dispute 6,000 MIR positions that are called every year in Spain.