In December 2012 the waiting lists for surgery in hospitals across the Canary Islands reached its highest figures since the Ministry of Health starting publishing them in 2003.
In total, 29,675 Canarians (or residents) are waiting to be operated on in the different public hospitals of the Archipelago, a figure which is 9% higher than six months ago. During the past six months, according to data released on Wednesday by the Canary Islands Health Service (SCS), surgical waiting lists grew in most hospitals especially in Gran Canaria: 26 % in the ‘Hospital Universitario Doctor Negrín’ (5,221 people on waiting lists), 22% in the ‘Hospital Insular’ (5,665 people) and up to 28% in the ‘Materno-Infantil’ (1,119 people).
The increase in waiting lists from June to December last year (2012) is in addition to the increase there had been in previous months, so if you consider this entire period, the waiting list has increased in 2012 by 4,814 people (19%). While the waiting list for consultation has risen 10% over the last six months.
The director general of welfare programs, Hilda Sanchez, justified the increases quoting ‘the economic demands of the Government of Spain that has required a reduction in the named hospitals (12% last year). In contrast, SCS workers say that the “real reason” for this increase is that “It has reduced staff and professionals who retire and are not replaced. Currently (work) contracts are made for months and sometimes even for days, all this of course increases the waiting list”.
In response, the ‘Las Palmas Association of Private Hospitals’ has said that it is willing to make their operating rooms available to counteract SCS’s “worrying increase in waiting lists that exist in the Canary Islands.”