Spațiul Medical: How has your country responded so far to the coronavirus epidemic?
Dr. José Muñoz: The Spanish National Service accounts for almost three-quarters of all health expenditure in the country, although healthcare provision is highly decentralized, resting the responsibility with the 17 autonomous regions. However, since the coronavirus outbreak, the Ministry of Health took control of all health establishments, public and private, under a common authority.
Spațiul Medical: How prepared are your hospitals?
Dr. José Muñoz: So far, the system is showing some resilience, although there is growing work overload and the situation is very unpredictable. All non-essential clinical procedures have been postponed in order to liberate resources to attend infected patients. The main concern now is the shortage of protective equipment, ventilators, and diagnostic kits, due to unavailability from suppliers. Regarding human resources, the system is so far coping, although showing signs of increasing staff fatigue; a certain number of clinicians and carers have had to withdraw after being tested positive for covid-19.
Spațiul Medical: What do you think European healthcare systems will learn from this experience?
Dr. José Muñoz: European and international institutions have been mostly reactive, during this crisis, showing a disconcerting lack of leadership. National governments have taken individual decisions that surely should have been agreed with their European partners. A lesson to learn is that joint proactive efforts, coordination, and communication are essential in times of emergency.
Dr. José María Muñoz y Ramón was for 5 years Medical Director of the “La Paz University Hospital”, awarded for 2 consecutive years as the best state hospital in Spain. In 2019 he participated as Guest and Speaker at ROHO – Romanian Hospitals Convention.
The fifth ROHO edition will take place on September 24 and 25, 2020, in Bucharest.