When the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, stated this week that doctors were lacking and nurses – «there are no doctors in Spain. We have to encourage doctors to come to Spain »-, the health community Cubans who live in our country and cannot work, about a thousand, was outraged. An outrage that flooded social networks and that was translated into initiatives on Change.org demanding the approval of their titles quickly: in just 48 hours, 6,000 people had signed it. According to this request, addressed to the Ministry of Education, there would be around 3,000 non-community health professionals pending the approval of some of the procedures that allow them to work: homologation of the title, residence card, work permit …
Ariel Nuñez Roca, 50 years old and living in the Barcelona town of Rubí, is an example of Cuban doctors who, having a residence and work permit, lack the approval of their title, which makes it impossible for them to be hired. Trained in Cuba, where he did general medicine, a three-year residency and specialized in urology, he also practiced medicine for seven years in Angola. «There I had to carry out medicine in its fullness, where there were diseases that are not seen in the first world – yellow fever, dengue, chicungunya and malaria – treating children, women, the elderly … It was a complex job, but it contributed some experience ”, he explains to ABC by phone.
Nuñez Roca, who has been in Spain for two and a half years and who today is taking the exam to obtain Spanish nationality (he is of Galician descent), began the process of homologation of his title, for general medicine, in June 2019. «I carry 15 months waiting, and I still don’t know anything. More than a month ago I sent a letter to the Department of Health, in Catalonia, and they still have not answered me.
In the meantime, he has tried to offer his services to the Barcelona Medical Association, “even as a volunteer, but they told me that I could only do cleaning work, and that I could not touch any patient,” he laments. He has also tried to provide his services in residences. «In this crisis, with health training, I cannot practice in those that are where I live and are not medicalized. When I send my CV, they call me, but they ask for my approval, which I don’t have, and they don’t hire me ».
Currently, Nuñez Roca, who has just completed a master’s degree in Master’s in Uro-Oncology at CEU Cardenal Herrera University, he earns his living as a household employee. «My Galician grandfather used to say that the only thing you cannot be in life is lazy or a thief. I’m not ashamed, but I don’t feel good about not being able to help when there is a shortage of doctors, ”he confesses.
He acknowledges that when Ayuso declared that there were no doctors in Spain, he thought it was a joke. «A Portuguese word came to mind, “Brincadeira”, which means to make a joke. And I say that with all due respect. In my opinion, what happens is that there is a great dissociation between the information that officials have and what reality is. Finally, he assures that if the title were approved “I would render my services where necessary”, including Madrid.
“It is frustrating not being able to cooperate in something that is your vocation”
Helena Peñate It is another of the health professionals who suffer from the delay in the homologation of degrees, which from being processed in around 9 months has gone to take almost two years, in general medicine, and up to five years for the specialty. Peñate is 30 years old and currently lives in Badajoz. With Spanish nationality, “my mother has lived here for 20 years,” she was born in Colombia and graduated in general medicine there. «I specialized in surgery in Cuba, where I met my husband, also a doctor. Then we decided to eradicate ourselves in Spain ». She has lived in our country for a little over a year, and both she and her husband presented the papers for approval 13 months ago. “When I check the website to follow up, it always tells me that there is no record of my papers, so I do not even know if they have been reviewed,” he laments. In your case, having Spanish citizenship, which allows you to work, you would only need that procedure. “But without approval there is no possibility.”
While she continues to send emails looking for someone to inform her, “I keep a copy of everything that I sent during these months”, she has survived doing “various jobs” temporarily, mainly related to home care for the elderly. “Something like a gerocultor”, he explains to ABC.
For Pañate it is “frustrating” not being able to help during this pandemic in the area where he lives, especially when “I have an interest, the desire to cooperate. Medicine is a question of vocation. And I am impatient at not being able to cooperate. She also “depressed” when she sees news that talks about the shortage of toilets and the collapse of the health system, “that there are no doctors and they have to be brought in from abroad. I have all the conditions – he insists – but I am missing the homologation, “he laments.
«In these months I have not stopped sending emails. The answer is always the same: unfortunately your registry has not been registered. Where are my papers? ”He wonders. Of the different instances to which he has addressed, offering his services as a doctor, “I have not received a response or as a volunteer,” says Peñate.
Given the emergency suffered by the Community of Madrid, we asked her if she would be willing to move here if her title were finally approved, and she does not reject the possibility: “The important thing would be to guarantee our approval credential !!”, this Colombian doctor underlines .
«I worked during the pandemic in a residence; now I am a delivery person in Madrid »
Janesca sanchez He has been in Spain for a couple of years and arrived in Madrid last February. A bad month of a worse year. The adversity, however, served as an asset for this 28-year-old Venezuelan to exercise her professional vocation for a few months in a concerted nursing home in the capital. When the steep first wave descended, it was fired. A frugal “dream” in the midst of a pandemic. “Working under these conditions was hard, but it is comforting, you feel useful to people who need you and are suffering so much,” he says.
Janesca, married, subsists mainly on her husband’s income. In June she ended up in residence; Since July it has been autonomous and has been traveling through the streets of Madrid on the back of an old bicycle. “There are Uber drivers, Glovo delivery men, waiters and babysitters among our colleagues – she says John Provence, Vice President of the Association of Venezuelan Doctors in Spain (Amevesp), which groups 2,646 of the 5,000 in this country. But the political will is lacking to stop under-utilizing this potential.
Knowledge «in pause»
Janesca has two degrees from the University of Carabobo, in Venezuela: she has a degree in Histotechnology (a discipline that trains technicians for the processing of biopsies) and in Medicine. But your knowledge is “on hold” here. In her case, she landed on Spanish soil in 2018 and since then she has struggled for her second title to be approved. Ten months ago they have responded from the Government (it is processed through the Ministry of Universities) with a word that sounds “maddening”: “Patience”. Before that institutional “council” came another bureaucratic process, no less cumbersome, he explains. «Getting the necessary documentation from my country to register here is already a torment». After this first phase, she and her compatriots are waiting for the final check-up in Spain, which will allow her to register in medical schools and apply for a place that 99% of the time will be private, because a public one is already a chimera. “If, in addition, they want their specialty to be recognized by Health, another phase begins that is completely stopped”, Provenza censors. 616 Venezuelan doctors are pending approval of their title. On average, it takes two years, comment on Amevesp.
In spring they managed to press the accelerator and 225 doctors did. Another 150 regularized their immigration status (“many are in political asylum”). That speed is not maintained at this time. “We place ourselves at the disposal of the Government,” emphasize the two doctors.