Evelio Blaine, President of the Non-Community Doctors Section of the Tarragona Official Doctors College.
The Official College of Metges of Tarragona (COMT) is a pioneer in Spain, creating the first collegiate section representing about 400 doctors from outside the community in Catalonia and Spain. Evelio Blainedoctor of the digestive medicine service of two hospitals in the province of Tarragona, the Regional Hospital of Móra d’Ebre and the Verge de la Cinta Hospital in Tortosa, is your president.
Blaine claims that the Col·legi de Metges de Barcelona just now approve the comparison section and the sections of Col·legi Oficial de Metges de Girona and Col·legi Oficial de Metges de Lleida are in process, which will lead to Catalan section of doctors outside the community. Blaine also explains in an interview with Medical writing the situation experienced by doctors outside the community in Spainhow they feel and their claimsamong which stands out his demand for Medical colleges are the ones that accredit doctors from outside the community“as is happening in the United States and Latin America.”
What is the reality facing a non-EU doctor in Spain?
There are two groups. First of all, when the non-EU doctor comes as a general practitioner and has to homologate a medical degree, a rather time-consuming task which, although done digitally, the waiting period to receive the results takes two years.
In second place is the situation of the medical specialist who receives his homologation as a medical graduate and wants certification of a specialty. A never-ending story because the regulations used in Spain are guided by the time of the MIR. Comparing things that are not comparable. I have three years of internal medicine plus two years of digestive, that’s five; while MIR is four years old. When this is submitted for consideration to the Ministry of Health by regulation, it says that the specialty was not accepted because it does not correspond to the four years, which is not true.
What are the consequences of this situation?
For almost 90 percent of the specialists who submit their documents, when they go to the ministry, they are told “you are not eligible because you are not old enough”. This means that there are a large number of specialists scattered around empty spain, because this is rare in capital cities, but seen very often in empty spain. All the regional hospitals and most of the hospitals in Catalonia where I work are staffed by non-EU specialists, as many of the MIR specialists do not go to these regions.
In my hospital, more than 70 percent of specialist doctors are from outside the EU. We are in a legal impasse because we are not recognized as specialists. We are appointed as general practitioners, we specialize, we are paid as specialists, but before the law we are nobody. We are in a pseudo legality that creates a very serious legal problem. Many medical directors and human resource managers of hospitals are forced to choose this option because they do not have specialist doctors, knowing that this is a pseudo-legality.
“We non-community doctors are in a legal limbo, a pseudo-legality that creates a very serious legal problem”
Are non-EU doctors undervalued?
I don’t think we’re undervalued in the sense that when you start work, we’re equally valued and medical directors and managers value our work. The only thing is, we don’t have the same opportunities. Our contracts are temporary and we have no opportunity to move up in the hospital because we will never have a permanent position. The head of the pediatric service where I work has been a pediatrician for 18 years, has two postgraduate degrees from a Catalan university in pediatrics, has been in charge of the service for 16 years, and is not yet certified as a pediatrician. It’s an outburst.
Could it be a problem that is being made invisible by the administration?
This is a problem that is related to a misconception of the vision of the specialty in any field. The major is not an academic study; major is training. Academic training is Bachelor of Medicine. If you are a doctor, the law states that you can educate yourself and have training in any of the fields of medicine, regardless of where you do it, as long as you are certified and can justify your ability to practice.
And what do they claim?
What we want is that this assessment is not a bureaucratic assessment of the ministry, but of the doctors themselves. We ask medical colleges to certify whether you have the capacity to be a specialist, as is done around the world. Certification in the United States and throughout Latin America of the specialties is given by the medical associations themselves, which say if in the place where you were trained and test your ability to practice a specialty within the union and within the hospital where you are. you whether they consider themselves an expert or not. Our work is recognized, I am registered in the specialty I practice and specialists in my field recognize me as a specialist.
What is the main purpose of the COMT Extra-Community Metges Section?
COMT is the first college of doctors to swear in and give legitimacy to a section of doctors from outside the community as participants in the joint governance of the entity. We are trying to take our voice to the General Council of Official Medical Associations so that it can be the spokesperson for non-EU doctors to the Ministry of Health. The time we’ve tried it with senior officials, politicians and others, they don’t attach importance to it because they don’t see it as political news. I have had interviews and exposed this reality with high-ranking members of Congress and the Department of Health, but no one dares to make a decision that implies a political cost.
“45 percent of doctors registered in the medical associations of Catalonia are waiting for homologation or certification of the specialty”
How many non-EU doctors are waiting for their title to be approved?
In Catalonia, 45 percent of doctors registered in the medical colleges of Catalonia are awaiting approval or specialty certification. That is four out of ten. In COMT we went from 600.
Have you contacted other medical associations to create a section like yours?
It is a bottom-up initiative. Now we invite colleagues from other provinces to create the section within the schools. The section of the Col legi de Metges in Barcelona has just been approved and we are trying to create the one in Girona and Lleida to create the Catalan section of doctors outside the community and we are motivating community doctors from all provinces to appear in person at the colleges of doctors and ask for it.
When will the section of OTC doctors see the light of day on a national scale?
Our movement and what we offer colleagues is to work in our natural niche, our natural home is the College of Physicians. The best way is for each one to seek to establish a section within the medical association of his province and when we have a large majority it is in line with the national council of non-community physicians at the national level. It’s not difficult because with 15 or 20 colleagues who agree and ask for it, and the board of directors of the medical association of each province has to support it because it’s legal. We are ready to advise and support anyone who wishes. These sections will be the grandstand from which to defend our reality.
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