THE Medical Council of Spain has urged the government’s Chief of Health Emergencies Fernando Simon to stand down over his handling of the country’s COVID-19 crisis.
Medical professionals have accused Simon of ‘undermining the morale of overworked doctors’ and of showing a prolonged incompetence in his handling of the pandemic.
The Council, which represents 52 medical colleges across the country, made the statement in response to Simon placing some of the blame for Spain’s increase in cases on doctors.
During a press conference, held on Thursday, Simon expressed the magnitude of infections arisen from medical professionals, as well as suggesting that hospitals had ‘learned valuable lessons’ from the first wave.
Simon has been accused of not listening to the needs of the country’s hospitals that have been put under immense strain since the pandemic began in March.
The council claims that no proper precautions were put in place by Simon’s team to protect the safety of doctors, including a lack of protective equipment and diagnostic testing kits.
Simon is also being called out on his failure to assemble an independent team to review the government’s handing of the pandemic.
In total, 72 medical professionals have died since the beginning of March, a fact that has been overlooked and undermined, according to the statement.
“Thousands more are still fighting to deal with a pandemic the likes of which we have never seen,” said a spokesman for the council.
But Simon has received support in the wake of the council’s comments.
Former WHO systems director and current Director for Health and Strategy in Bilbao, Prof Rafael Bengoa, defended Simon, calling for an understanding not finger pointing.
“This isn’t the way forward, when mistakes are made in our hospitals, we ask, ‘what happened?’ and not ‘whose fault is it?’. That’s how we learn,” said Bengoa.
Simon is no stranger to controversy, after testing positive earlier in the year, he was pictured surfing in Portugal, appearing to defy his own lockdown rules.
So far in Spain, over 40,000 deaths have been recorded since the pandemic began, the highest figure in Western Europe.