11th Jan 2022 @ 9:58 am

The Canarian Medical College – the professional body for doctors on the Canaries – has issued an appeal to politicians to take action so that health centres and hospitals can focus on serious illnesses, rather than administrative tasks involving testing, advice, sick leave and other non-urgent procedures.

“The pandemic is now reaching all of us…we need an approach appropriate to the current adverse circumstances,” the College said in a strong statement issued yesterday

“Currently, serious illnesses caused by Covid-19 are lower than those usually caused by flu. 0.12% of active cases are in intensive care – most of whom are unvaccinated or seriously ill already. In this situation, epidemiological statistics are of secondary importance and we need to prioritise medical activity. Right now we need to treat the sick – all of the sick! – because heart disease, cancer and mental illness have not stopped.”

“Primary care givers need to be able to prioritise and cannot dedicate their precious time to filling in epidemiological reports, approving sick leave, communicating test results, telling close contacts what to do or following up on cases with mild symptoms.”

The College proposes that test centres are extended and staffed with personnel who can carry out these procedures. It also demanded that the Canarian Government issued clear guidelines to current protocols involving isolation and tracing, and reminded people not to attend their local health centre or hospital in person if they have mild symptoms. “Only go to the health centre if you have a persistent high fever and to the hospital if you’re suffering respiratory problems.”

The warning comes as the Canaries experiences an immense increase in the amount of cases, 87.5% of which have recently been discovered to involve the Omicron variant. Although serious cases are rarer with Omicron, the sheer number of cases means that hospital pressure is increasing.

There are currently more people in hospital with Covid on the Canaries that at any other point in the pandemic, although intensive care units remain just below the levels seen a year ago. . Canarian President Ángel Victor Torres has announced that he is “worried” about the “immense saturation “ that primary care facilities are experiencing.

The main hospitals on Tenerife and Gran Canaria have already been forced to set aside more intensive care beds and cut back their activity to urgent cases, cancer treatment and procedures that cannot be delayed.

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