Incentives for health professionals working in rural areas

Read Catalan version.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
01 April 2024 Monday 10:31
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Incentives for health professionals working in rural areas

Read Catalan version

20% of primary care teams (EAP) in Catalonia are considered difficult to cover in rural areas. These are positions that doctors, male and female nurses, and social workers do not usually choose to work. In total, there are 73 EAPs of the 378 throughout the country.

To reverse this situation and promote equity in access to public health services throughout the territory, the Government of the Generalitat, through the Department of Health, has launched the Employment Plan for positions that are difficult to fill in the rural area in primary care. This is a plan that will promote economic incentives and more social measures to promote the professional and personal projects of professionals who already work or choose to work in these rural areas.

"It is a very important bet so that these places with difficult rural coverage can be more attractive for professionals," remarked the Minister of Health, Manel Balcells i Díaz, during the presentation of the plan that took place at the CAP in Flix ( Ribera d'Ebre). "It is also an effort to prioritize these 73 teams so that they have an increase, in addition to those already provided for in the respective agreements, both in ICS and SISCAT," he added.

The Plan includes economic incentives that complement the current mountain incentives. The global impact for Salut will be 11.5 million euros annually. Family and Community Medicine doctors and paediatricians in these centers with difficult coverage will receive an annual increase of around €3,500 and nurses, midwives, and social workers, 2,000.

In addition, the Plan also contemplates a set of measures of a more social nature to promote the professional and personal project. Thus, in the professional field, measures will be deployed such as facilitating research and teaching, continued training, connection with professionals from the health system and prioritization of interconsultations, leadership and flexibility of the working day, guaranteeing the service, among others. .

And at the personal level, the Plan contemplates, in collaboration with municipal entities, measures to promote housing, mobility, occupation of the family unit or subsidies for training, among others. To promote these measures, Salut will establish collaboration agreements with different municipal entities.

To identify EAPs that are difficult to cover in rural areas, Salut took into account six weighted indicators: the distance from the primary team to the hospital, high rurality, seasonal overload, on-call, distance to the local clinic and the aging of the population. . These indicators allow us to determine different levels of positions that are difficult to fill, categorized as high, medium and low level.

It is a robust method, which allows it to be updated periodically and to adequately discriminate sites with difficult structural coverage. This synthetic indicator is what has made it possible to identify among the 378 EAPs in Catalonia, the 73 teams that are difficult to cover, the vast majority from the Catalan Institute of Health (ICS). And the ICS manages approximately 80% of the country's EAPs. Specifically, the Salut study has identified 61 ICS EAPs that are difficult to cover: 36 at a high level and 25 at a medium level. Of the rest of the EAPs in the health system, 6 are considered high level and 6 more are considered medium level.