They justify this measure as the waiting list is reportedly too small to devote large resources and personnel.
Hospital management has stressed that this decision “does not harm patients” and it is simply a “reorganization of schedule”. “Patients never wait more than 30 days to be operated, which is well below the regional and national average”.
The only surgeries that will still be conducted in the afternoon will be emergency interventions, according to Spanish press reports. In the surgery department, aside from the surgeons there are around 70 workers, 40 nurses and 20 nursing assistants as well as guards and other positions.
Employees on permanent contracts who no longer perform their duties in the operation ward in the afternoon have been redistributed to other services, especially the emergency department, according to union sources. For those without a permanent contract the future is less certain. So far this year the hospital has not renewed the contracts of two nurses and two nursing assistants.
The real reason behind the closure of the surgery ward for planned operations in the afternoons is believed to be economical, according to union sources. Hospital management has suggested that this is a temporary decision and that in January with the new annual budget the possibility of resuming surgery in the afternoon will be assessed.
On November 21 it will have been five years since the hospital opened with its 12 operating rooms at full capacity.
In the early days there were hundreds of people on the waiting list and the surgery ward was in operation with up to six surgery rooms open between 3pm and up to 9pm every weekday and Saturdays.
By Nicole Hallett