MALAGA has admitted its health centres are collapsing due to the pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The province’s health delegate Carlos Bautista told journalists on Monday that there are ‘no miracle solutions’ and that ‘we must continue working in very tough conditions.’

It comes as local health centres have been unable to cope with being inundated with potential coronavirus patients, with many seeing people forming long queues outside.

Bautista said the phone lines have been improved so residents can better request appointments.

When asked how to resolve the pressure, Bautista said the answer was to ‘keep working, there is no other option.’

It comes after the Medical Union and the Basta Ya collective, made up of family doctors and paediatricians, threatened to go on strike last week.

Bautista said the health professionals have every right to, saying they are ‘exhausted by the intense and magnificent work they do on a daily basis.’

He said he would respect a decision to carry out work stoppages or a strike, but that he trusted they would not go through with it ‘due to a question of responsibility.’

“I pray every day that there is a vaccine, the pandemic ends and the situation improves and we can breathe,” said Bautista, who apologised to the people who have had to queue in the street and to those who are experiencing delays in receiving telephone consultations.

“Doctors don’t like to keep their patients away; they prefer to listen to them and see them in person, but we have opted for the current system to avoid generating more infections,” added Bautista, who vowed to increase the pay of doctors to the national average to attract more health professionals.

Bautista also recognised that laboratories and medics are overwhelmed by the large number of tests being performed, but that the situation will soon improve with the arrival of rapid antigen tests, thought to be as reliable as PCR and which give a result in 10 minutes.

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