“Cancer does not go on holiday,” was the phrase a woman on Facebook used to denounce the shutdown of operating theatres during the holidays at Hospital Clinico in Malaga.
According to the association for women with breast cancer, Asamma, this situation is causing the waiting list for breast cancer operations to increase dramatically.
Head of the association, Francisca Aguilar, said that during the rest of the year, less than 25 days go by between the diagnosis and the surgery. However, during the holiday period, some patients are having to wait up to two months to undergo surgery.
“We believe this is far too much time and that the reason behind these delays is that operating theatres are being closed down for holidays,” she said, and added: “Around 60 women are currently waiting to undergo surgery at Hospital Clinico, and we are afraid that when the holidays are over, there will be more.”
During the rest of the year, there are three operating rooms a week performing breast cancer surgeries, while in August, only three theatres per month are open. The problem, according to the association, is not a lack of surgeons, but that the rest of the staff is on holiday and there are great restrictions to new recruitment to cover for them.
Asamma is not the only association denouncing the situation. The medical trades union did the same recently, saying the number of open operating theatres is insufficient to serve basic needs, which is in return extending the waiting periods.
The hospital has responded, saying that it was untrue the waiting lists had got longer during the summer.