THE Supreme Court of Spain has rejected claims that the government is legally bound to provide personal protective equipment (PPE).
A request from the Medical State Union had said the government is obliged to provide PPE to the nation’s public and private health workers.
Throughout the country, medical and police workers have been plagued by a lack of adequate protective equipment such as masks, gloves and clothing, leading to a high rate of front line staff catching the virus.
According to figures last week, over 15,000 health workers have been diagnosed with the virus, making up 14% of all confirmed cases nationwide.
After reaching breaking point, the Confederation of Medical Unions requested to the Supreme Court that it be made mandatory that health professionals receive proper equipment.
The Union has also denounced that the Ministry of Health accepts full responsibility for the current shortages, and condemns its lack of pro-activity to ensure no one is put at risk.
However the Supreme Court feverishly denied that the government has acted irresponsibly and ‘dragged its feet’ in the handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
“There is no record of any action contrary to supply of equipment, and the actions of public officials show that all kinds of initiatives are being carried out to ensure everything that can be done, is being done,” read a statement from the High Court.
The Social Chamber of the National Court made a statement recognising the country is ‘overwhelmed’.
It added: “There are not enough means for all those who must continue to provide their services to do so with due protection.”
They also denounced that certain groups of professionals were having to be prioritised over others, and that the decision of who gets the equipment is down to the Interior Ministry.
The Interior Ministry has argued that they have made a ‘huge effort’ to ensure that Policia Nacional and Guardia Civil officers all have access to masks, gloves and testing kits.
The Federal Police Union (UFP) disagrees and reiterates the sentiments of the Medical Unions, condemning the government for its inactivity.
Just days after the hearing, Unions filed appeals to the court against their decision but the situation is not looking good.
With provincial courts in Andalucia, Soria and Avila all rejecting Union claims, it looks like the situation is far from over.