Health deficit: almost half of Spaniards have waited up to four hours in the emergency room


  • 82% consider that the health system needs changes, according to the first wave of the CIS health barometer corresponding to 2022

Spain has a good health system, although the cuts caused by the economic crisis left primary care and coronavirus has caused such pressure on care that they have increased waiting lists there have been delays in diagnoses and, at times, getting an appointment with a family doctor or pediatrician was almost mission impossible. The situation has been improving little by little, but a survey of CIS released this Thursday indicates that there are still many things to change, according to the diagnosis of the Spanish.

For example, the saturation of primary care has caused many people, faced with any ailment, to approach the emergency services to find a solution. And if even before the pandemic, emergencies were spaces where, if the illness is not very serious, you had to wait a long time, with the pandemic the situation, in general terms, has worsened. For example, 45% of Spaniards who have gone to the emergency room in the last 12 months indicate that they have had to wait 1 to 4 hours to be admitted or to go home with a diagnosis and treatment; to which is added almost 18% who had to wait between four hours and 12 hours. On the bright side, 32% had to wait less than 1 hour, according to the first wave of the health barometer corresponding to 2022 (carried out in March).

The waiting lists in health centers They have also broken records. For example, 25% of people who have needed a primary care professional have had to wait 11 days or more to be attended and 10% between eight and 10 days. For this reason, 15% of Spaniards indicate that although in the last 12 months they required the help of a health professional, they could not obtain it because it was impossible to contact the medical center or because they gave him the appointment many days later and his ailment had already been solved.

no covid

And that the telephone consultations They have expanded to the point that 76% of those surveyed indicate that they received attention electronically, a situation that has left 40% very and quite satisfied and 47% somewhat satisfied and not very satisfied.

Paradoxically, only 8% of those surveyed went to primary care centers due to symptoms caused by the covidwhile almost 50% were due to a new health problem not related to the virus and 27% due to a chronic ailment but not related to the coronavirus.

The specialists

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As for the specialists, 36% of those surveyed had to wait more than three months to be seen and another 40% between one and three months. And, finally, to be admitted, almost 30% had to wait from one to three months and 12% more than six months. However, the majority, 52%, were admitted to a hospital within a month of being recommended.

For all these reasons, 46% of Spaniards consider that the national health system works well but it is necessary make changes, to which is added the 25% who believe that it needs “fundamental changes” and the 11% who believe that it works so “badly” that it requires “profound” modifications. The Spanish give the health system a 6.4, which represents a slight decrease compared to 2019, when the population valued Spanish health with a notable.


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