Monday, November 23, 2015

The Unhealthy Health Centres

Earth Mother Patricia Gómez has had her less than happy moments as regional health minister. There was the parliamentary time, for instance, when she appeared to be on the point of bursting into floods of tears while behind her Dave Spart and The Boot Girl were joking in a Podemos way at the parliamentary broadside that had been delivered in her general direction on account of Mr. Gómez having got the gig as the health ministry's IB-Salut supremo.

Patricia, who appears to have stumbled into the job despite giving the impression of being a member of a British folk-rock group circa the late 1960s, gave an interview not so long ago in which she was photographed on the floor. What had happened to the chairs? At least she hadn't gone the whole hog and dragged the bean bag out of the attic along with the box of joss sticks.

So what's happened now to make kindly Patricia the object of health-sector ire? Has she decreed that all treatment is to be homeopathic and via the laying of hands? Not as such. Her latest venture into mishap has to do with insisting on keeping the island's health centres open all day. On the face of it, this doesn't appear to be wholly unreasonable. If there are centres with the word health in them, then it makes sense for them to deliver health and to not be shut for most of the day. Unfortunately, no one agrees with her apart from governmental colleagues such as Sweet FA, the Balearic president.

Health workers, who had previously threatened to down stethoscopes over pay, are once more threatening to go on strike. Health, at present, is purely a morning phenomenon. The rest of the day is for unhealth. Except, that is, for hospital emergency wings and the local PAC centres, which are overstretched on account of being inundated with pensioners concerned by a mild cough they have developed - in the afternoon.

Strike threat or no strike threat, Patricia has commanded health centre opening from eight to eight Mondays to Thursdays and until three on Friday afternoons. This will start on 1 December, just in time for the lead-up to Christmas when health workers could normally anticipate having the afternoons for traipsing around Al Campo. They are indignant.

Patricia, hard as she has tried, has reluctantly had to concede that it isn't always possible to gain consensus on such issues. And in one quote of explanation, she has managed to blow a vast hole in the strategic use of language by the government and all other local authorities ruled by PSOE, Podemos, Més or variants thereon. Consensus, dialogue, everyone knows it's nonsense, and the health-centre issue proves the point. As also does the tourist tax.

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