How Covid-19 forced overhaul of Spain’s health centres

Madrid, Apr 25 (efe-epa).- The coronavirus pandemic has forced a radical change in the way health centres operate with the creation of new at home services and a huge increase in the number of telephone consultations, a doctor at a Madrid facility told Efe Saturday.

“The change in our organization has been radical,” Doctor Marisa Rogero, director of the General Ricardos Health Center in Madrid, tells Efe.

The bulk of the work they carry out now is telephone monitoring and home care of patients suspected of having the respiratory disease.

Government guidelines stipulate people with suspected Covid-19 symptoms must stay at home and call health care centres for guidance, the doctor explains.

The General Ricardos Centre How Covid-19 forced overhaul of Spain’s health centrestakes some 1,400 calls a day despite the fact it is under huge pressure with 25% of staff absent.

Around 430 primary care centres in Madrid have dealt with almost 4 million consultations in the last month: 1.9 million were face-to-face, 1.8 million were over the phone and more than 103,700 were home visits, according to the Madrid Ministry of Health.

There are currently 19,599 people in the Madrid region with suspected Covid-19 that are being monitored. Since the outbreak began 265,236 have been monitored by primary care staff.

“In addition to a greatly increased telephone service, we have had to train and learn how to do it well. We also had to separate spaces to tend to patients with suspected respiratory symptoms in a completely separate area,” Rogero tells Efe.

“It has been complete madness, one day we get one order and the next another. But working as a team we have managed to give assistance, mainly by telephone, to everyone,” the doctor adds.

Since Spain hit its peak, health centres have slowly started to regain normality. The number of calls has dropped and many will stop opening at the weekends.

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