The situation in many health centres is in chaos, but the worst thing is that, in many cases, visits are not necessary. The explosion of COVID infections after the arrival of the omicron variant is leading to a new way of managing the pandemic so that people with mild and asymptomatic symptoms, who are the majority, are increasingly self-managing their illness. One of the formulas now being studied by the Conselleria de Salut is that one can apply for sick leave after proving positive for COVID.
"We have been working for some time on different measures to alleviate Primary Care, where healthy people are coming because they are a close contact and want a test, but in addition to them we have to attend to the rest...", regrets the councilor, Patricia Gómez. Last week a website was presented through which the patient can report a positive test and make a list of close contacts, a task that until now fell to health workers.
Those people who, thanks to the form, receive the message of having been a close contact or who present symptoms can self-isolate and have a test or request an appointment for a diagnostic test. However, one of the main concerns of the more than 30,000 people who are currently positive for the virus is how to apply for sick leave. Right now, those diagnosed with infection by the healthcare system can request sick leave when they receive notification that they are positive. Meanwhile, the professionals who answer the InfoCOVID telephone number manage sick leave together with the Medical Inspection, a service that has been reinforced to relieve the professionals in the health centers, so that family doctors no longer process them.
However, it is no secret that InfoCOVID is saturated because despite the reinforcement, the numbers of infections is incredibly high. The next step for self-management of testing positive is that the worker himself notifies the system through a web page. "We are working on a telematic system to present the medical leave," the minister acknowledged yesterday. The system, which the Basque Country has already launched last week, allows the affected person to process the sick leave by simplifying procedures, avoiding phone calls, attendance and collapse in health centres, with a simple form.
"We are taking measures adapted to the situation to strengthen primary care and hospital care, but we ask the population to be consistent in the use of public resources in order to have the staff available," insisted the consellera. Although the Balearic Islands is currently one of the communities with the lowest accumulated incidence of cases in Spain, yesterday the new record of daily infections was broken.
The omicron variant, which is already responsible for 67.7% of the COVID infections in the Islands, has overwhelmed the primary care services and has pushed healthcare personnel to the limit, where the same effect of the virus also wreaks havoc, leaving 521 positives, which are included in the 667 isolated professionals. The casualties and the burden of care in the last month is undermining the mental health of healthcare workers, who are also suffering more episodes of aggression from the general population.