Medical staff from the Torrevieja University Hospital demonstrated outside the Valencian Parliament Building on Monday in support of Ribera Salud. They are demanding that the Ministry of Health reverses it’s decision to take the management of the Hospital and it’s Satellite Health Centres away from the concessionaire and hand it back to the Department of Health.
A hundred members of staff from the hospital centre, dressed in white coats, displayed a banner in front of the main door of the Valencian Parliament during the early morning, counting down the days remaining to 15th October, the deadline by which the Department Health will have to notify Ribera Salud of their proposal to remove them from the management of the hospital and all the primary care centres in the Torrevieja health area, which will affect 11 municipalities of the Bajo Segura.
They asked to be received by the president of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, or his staff, in order to put forward their point of view.
The workers ensured that the protest coincided with the arrival of Puig in Les Corts, on the first day of the general policy debate, but they were left criticising the “cowardly” attitude of the president as he avoided entering through the main door, where they were gathered, choosing instead to arrive by the rear entrance.
Fran Garcia, a member of the works council, denounced the Minister of Health, Ana Barceló, for not meeting with them. Neither though did any other member of the Council.
Deputies from Compromís were the only party that did hold an informal meeting with the workers, along with Fran Ferri of the PP, Isabel Bonig, and Toni Cantó from Ciudadanos.
The works council demand that they are allowed to be part of the negotiations on the future of the hospital, which employs 1,400 staff.
García said that they have been asking “without success” for a meeting with Ana Barceló since the councillor first took office and that their concerns are still to be acknowledged by any senior official from the Ministry of Health.
However, sources from the Ministry of Health have that the administration cannot meet with workers who are not employees of public health but are members of the staff of a private company, Ribera Salud. The same sources indicated that as soon as that management of the hospital is taken over by the Generalitat, it could then hold meetings with its staff.
The Minister of Health announced last June that the Torrevieja hospital will go into public management on October 15, 2021, when the concession managed by the Ribera Salud group ends.
The workers have been demonstrating every second Thursday in front of the hospital during a 5-minute break, and they say that they will continue with the protests until they are heard by the Administration, García added.
Ribera Salud has promised to build a second health centre in Orihuela Costa if the Consell extends their present concession.