Title: Resolving the Specialty Crisis in Family Medicine Requires Comprehensive Approach, says Expert
Subtitle: Working conditions and negative perception need to be addressed alongside increasing positions, says representative from MIR Spain Association
In Spain, the field of Family Medicine is facing a deepening crisis, and simply increasing the number of available positions is not enough to resolve it, according to Àlex Mayer, the representative in Catalonia of the MIR Spain Association. Mayer emphasizes that tackling the crisis requires a multi-faceted approach and substantial changes.
One of the main reasons why people do not choose Family Medicine as a specialty is due to the poor working conditions and the lack of prestige associated with it. Mayer believes that improving the image of Family Medicine and highlighting the significance of the family doctor’s role should start right from medical schools. In addition, he stressed the importance of improving working conditions to attract more medical professionals to the field.
Mayer also highlights a concerning issue – the absence of a specific subject on Family Medicine in most medical schools. This lack of emphasis implies that Family Medicine is often considered as an afterthought, undermining its significance. Furthermore, he expresses concern about the increasing number of vacant positions and resignations in recent years, which have left many healthcare centers understaffed. This situation poses significant challenges for providing adequate care to the population and ensuring the generational replacement of professionals.
The representative of the resident doctors in the Doctors of Catalonia (MC) union believes that punitive measures proposed by the ministry are ineffective. Instead, he advocates for positive changes to address the challenge. Mayer suggests reducing the workload of doctors in Primary Care Centers (CAP) and empowering them with control over their care schedule. He also emphasizes the need to improve working conditions, enhance access to research opportunities, and offer real possibilities for work-life balance.
Mayer concludes that increasing the number of MIR positions alone will not solve the underlying problem. The ministry and autonomous communities must thoroughly assess the entire MIR system to address the anomaly of empty positions despite ample candidates.
In response to the crisis, the Federation of Associations for the Defense of Public Health (Fadsp) has called for mir calls to have a redistributive nature, rather than requiring a minimum grade to be eligible for positions.
It is evident that resolving the specialty crisis in Family Medicine demands a comprehensive approach that encompasses improving working conditions, enhancing the image of the field, and implementing positive changes to attract and retain medical professionals. Only then can Spain ensure the provision of quality care and meet the population’s healthcare needs effectively.