The Ministry of Health has released this Tuesday the main data of the Report of the National system of health (SNS) 2020/2021. Among the conclusions of the document a positive headline: three out of four people rate your state of health as “good” or “very good”. And, also, very worrying data: a third of the population aged 15 and over consumes alcohol regularly or Two out of ten adults have obesity and five out of ten, excess weight, especially among the most disadvantaged families.

It also highlights that direct payments from households represent the largest private health financing. A budget that, fundamentally, is destined to drug purchase and copaydentist or purchase of glasses or hearing aids.

Health publishes this Tuesday its SNS Report which, with available data until September 2021, also incorporates aspects related to the system’s response to the coronavirus. A) Yes, before the health crisis, the assessment of the public health system by the population was 6.7 points out of 10 (year 2019). In this latest report published by the department headed by Carolina Darias, the rating is above 7 out of 10 and, specifically, Primary Care receives a rating of 7.3 points out of 10. As for the activity of the hospitals, valued with 7.1 points out of 10.

decrease in life expectancy

Likewise, the data from the study reflect that the impact of the pandemic on the elderly has caused the decline in life expectancy at birth in Spain: in 2020 it stands at 82.3 years and it continues to be higher in women (85.1 years). Cardiovascular diseases and cancer are the usual cause of more than 50% of deaths, but the document highlights that mortality from malignant tumors has decreased 20% in the last decade.

In the lifestyle section, some very worrying percentages. For example, that a third of the population aged 15 and over regularly consumes alcohol. In addition, 36% of the population in this age group declared themselves sedentary in their leisure time. It is also explained that two out of 10 adults are obese and five out of 10 are overweight, affecting the most disadvantaged social classes more. A recent report by the NGO Save the Childrenconcluded that Living in a low-income household doubles the probability of being obese or overweight in childhood. Children from poorer families have less balanced diets, do less physical exercise and spend more time in front of screens, a situation that has worsened after the coronavirus pandemic.

In the medicines section, a report from the Ministry of Health states that painkillers are the most consumed medicines in Spain and that the group of drugs that bills the highest amount in medical prescriptions from the SNS are those prescribed for diabetes. On the other hand, antineoplastic drugs, immunosuppressants and systemic antivirals are the ones that represent the greatest amount in the hospital pharmacy.

Public health spending

As for the public health spending stood at 6.6% of GDP (81,590 million euros), constituting 70.7% of total health spending in 2019 and has increased by 15% since 2015. The survey reveals that the increased public funding corresponds to regional administrations with 92.3% (75,312 million euros) and direct payments from households represent the largest private health financing, specifically, with 73.2%.

It is striking that these direct expenses (24,794 million euros) were fundamentally allocated to the drug purchase and copaydental care and the acquisition of therapeutic devices and other medical products such as glasses, contact lenses or hearing aids, not financed by the system.

The response to the pandemic

Regarding the response of the system to the health crisisthe document indicates that the “exceptional demand” during 2020 caused that, in the analyzed period, in Primary Care, 2.3 million people with coronavirus were treated and 5.3 million contacts were followed up. In addition, in health centers, 40% of diagnostic tests were carried out and four million temporary disability processes related to covid were managed. Also in Primary, mainly the most vulnerable groups were vaccinated and 379 million consultations were attended in 2020, which represented an increase in the activity of 12.3 million compared to 2019 (+3%).

During this period, teleconsultations between professionals and patients (127 million) increased by 600% compared to the previous year and home activity (13.5 million visits), by 4%. Health underlines the increase in flu vaccination activity (+48%) and pneumococcal (+21%) and points out that the morbidity attended presents a decrease in almost all the usual diagnoses, with a significant decrease in respiratory diseases not related to the coronavirus.

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Regarding specialized care, during 2020, the coronavirus caused the hospitalization of 232,420 people, with 245,215 admissions to the SNS acute hospital network (6% required more than one admission) and 10% required critical care. The average stay was 11 days, 9 in conventional hospitalization and 15 days in the ICUs. The greatest deployment of resources critical care was reached during the first wave, on April 9, 2020, with more than 13,000 ICU beds enabled, a number 2.8 times greater than the workforce in operation prior to the pandemic; in some autonomous communities it quadrupled and even quintupled its previous endowment.

In 2020, the SNS has attended a total of 3,181,725 ​​hospitalizations, 573,831 less than the previous year (-15%). As a result of the pandemic, concludes the report published by Health, diagnoses associated with diseases of the respiratory system have increased and highlighting the significant rise in pneumonia.


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