Faced with teams lacking due to covid-19 and non-payment of overtime, doctors of Primary Health Care (APS), which serve patients in Basic Health Units (UBSs), in the city of São Paulo, will meet this Thursday night, the 13th, to discuss possible stoppage next week, as stated by Victor Dourado, president of the São Paulo Doctors Union (Simesp), which represents about 100,000 doctors in the state of São Paulo, 60,000 of which are from the capital of São Paulo. Sought, the Municipal Health Department has not yet manifested.
Last Thursday, the 6th, the City Hall added up to 1,585 professionals on leave due to covid-19 or flu syndrome. New weekly balance sheet should be released this Thursday. The municipal network currently has 94,526 professionals, but since the beginning of December there has been an increase in the number of absences. With regard to patients, in November, 111,949 cases of flu syndrome were registered in municipal units. The number jumped to 264,975 in December, up 136%.
In addition to the overload with the growth of cases of the new coronavirus and influenza, – which causes an increase in demand for health services -, health professionals are also getting sick. And those who are working complain of exhaustion and very great overload, embezzlement that is not being replaced and also the maintenance of care for chronic patients.
“The overload on them is being done without paying overtime. Essentially, what the doctors ask is not an increase in the workday, but that it be reduced because they have been at the limit for a long time. The category demands the hiring of professionals to handle the demand for care”, pointed out Dourado. For this reason, since the beginning of the pandemic, many primary care professionals have resigned. “Throughout 2021, we already pointed to the need for professionals to be replaced, thinking about the pent-up demand – chronic patients with other health problems who were returning to the health system”, he added.
During the assembly, professionals will define whether there will be a strike. “If so, we will detail how it will be done. Before the meeting, we hope to talk to the Municipal Health Department”, said the president of Simesp.
Dourado defends meetings with the City Hall to discuss all issues involving the category. According to him, understanding both the City Hall and the Social Health Organizations (OSSs), which manage various services of the Unified Health System (SUS). “Understanding whose responsibility it is to solve the problem,” he said.
According to the union, at least 50 UBSs visited by the entity reported embezzlement in recent weeks. “The situation can be even more serious in other units. And even when the UBS is almost complete, part of the employees is moved to cover other units that are more understaffed”, he said.
Given the current scenario, he does not rule out the possibility of a collapse in service in the coming weeks.
“So far, what is being overloaded in the public health system of the capital of São Paulo is the gateway to the system, where those patients with mild or moderate symptoms will present themselves first. But, we will still see patients revolt with the increase in waiting time. Not enough structure or professionals. Today there are reports of more than four or five hours of waiting. This tends to increase, because we are at the beginning of the growth curve of new cases. I believe that we will have an increase in demand at other levels service as well, despite the advance of vaccination”, warns Dourado.