THE Andalucia health service opened an internal enquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of a pensioner at the Olula del Rio health centre just before Christmas.
According to reports, the 76-year was suffering breathing difficulties and was unconscious in the car by the time his son got him to the centre’s emergency service. The son was reportedly told there was no wheelchair available and so took a gurney and with the help of a passer-by got his father on top and got him inside, the pensioner allegedly dying about 20 minutes later without having been examined.
Junta de Andalucia Health and Families Almeria delegate Juan de la Cruz Belmonte explained that at the time the patient arrived the medical team had just gone out to attend to an emergency case outside the centre, leading to a “lack of coordination.”
The delegate said there will be “a thorough investigation” by the north Almeria health district management, which comes under the Servicio Andaluz de Salud (SAS), looking at “all those involved in the process” and to determine whether the protocol for when there is a lack of doctors in a centre was activated.
Should this occur, the protocol is to inform the 061 service to activate the nearest units.
De la Cruz also affirmed “all necessary measures will be taken” to ensure there is no repetition of the incident.
It is, he maintained, a “priority” for the Andalucia government to “reinforce” and “increase” staff numbers at health centres throughout 2020.
He also expressed his condolences to the pensioner’s family on behalf of the delegation.
The Olula del Rio PSOE party has meanwhile issued a statement strongly criticising the lack of personnel at the municipal health centre.
The statement demands Junta de Andalucia Popular Party President Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla allocate the necessary resources to the facility and called for an extraordinary council plenary meeting and for the PP Olula Mayor Antonion Pascual to take a stance.
Olula council PSOE spokesman and secretary general Diego Castaño referred to the “precarious” situation of the health centre.
Castaño claims there have been incidents of “uncovered sick leave, specialists taking their holidays and closing the doors on their consulting rooms because nobody stands in for them, and only one medical team to attend to Olula’s 10,000 inhabitants and another five bordering populations.”
The PSOE spokesman even went as far as accusing the Junta President of lying.
He said that when Moreno Bonilla officially inaugurated the facility some three months ago “he promised us many things for our town in health matters”,…”he told us this centre would be a reference point for the region, but the reality it has been emptying out of personnel.”