THE head of the Spanish Medical Association has called for fines for patients who turn up at hospital emergency wards when they are not in ‘urgent’ need of medical help.
Juan José Rodríguez Sendín has also proposed fines for patients who fail to pick up test results or go to the wrong hospital, as part of a campaign punish patients for improper use of the national healthcare system.
He claimed that ‘those who go a lot’ to the doctor, do so because ‘they’re scared’ and ‘think it will delay their final day’.
“When people don’t take their names off the waiting list, when they deliberately put their name down twice, when they don’t pick up their diagnoses or prescriptions, or when they go to the ER rather than to a regular health centre,” are some of the reasons he listed for proposing the fines.
But his words have been met with anger by many. The President of Spain’s health patient watchdog, Carmen Flores, called the proposals ‘an utter disgrace’.
“What happens is that when you have toothache or a high temperature, you’re put on a waiting list for a week. Are we going to have to pay because of that?
“He is not helping doctors by suggesting this. I imagine they don’t support his claims because threatening to make patients pay is neither decent nor humane.”