LAB has had access to a draft agreement to delegate the management of common diseases to the mutual employers’. The draft has been agreed between Spanish Social Security and the association of mutual employers AMAT and transferred to each community for execution between the corresponding health department and the mutual employers. It is therefore on the tables of the Government of the AVC and the Government of Nafarroa.
The Secretary of Labor Health, Inko Iriarte, explained that the document reflects that the Public Health System and, with it, most of the health service of workers and the population would pass into the hands of companies. It is therefore the most difficult privatization process we have ever known, he stresses.
What’s included in the agreement
Iriarte explained that, according to this agreement, in the case of workers of companies who have hired services with employers’ mutuals, when they are on leave, the common contingencies and the tests, treatments, interventions or rehabilitations related to them would be available to these mutuals. He adds that this would result, among other things, for mutuals to use productive and economic criteria and, on their basis, discharge workers as soon as possible, leaving the health of workers in the background, at the expense of social security. The measure would affect 80-90% of the working population.
On the other hand, by giving the mutual proposal, the agreement would give it power to monitor the doctor of Osakidetza or Osasunbidea and demand in the short five-day period the necessary technical reports, having to offer broad explanations to the mutual: This changes the current logic, and puts the doctor of the Public Health System under the orders of the doctor of a private company. In this situation, the so-called administrative silence would act in favour of mutuals and make its disposition the workload of the Public Health System, Iriarte said.
If from the first day of temporary incapacity the mutual proposed treatment, testing or intervention and the public health doctor did not respond in time, he would have permission to carry out the interventions he wanted, always for the benefit of the productive interests of the company, to reduce the decrease.
Iriarte has reported that the agreement also includes pilot testing without any public control, as well as access to clinical records.
Finally, the Secretary of Occupational Health wanted to stress that in the case of depressive disorders, tendinitis or problems affecting intervertruple discs, follow-up should be followed up every 15 days and justify continuing to unsubscribe.
Another step towards privatization
In the opinion of the general coordinator of LAB, Igor Arroyo, there is an attempt to privatize the public health system behind this document presented as a collaboration agreement: Since 1995 the mutuals have become increasingly empowered in the Spanish State, with the help of PNV and UPN. This time the idea is for the Mutual Patron to take over the health service of the working population, emptying the Public Health System. Thus, following the neoliberal doctrine, the opinion of the authors of the document is as follows: attention through employers’ mutuals for those people productive for the system, in order to achieve their reintegration as soon as possible; and for those that are not considered productive, the public health system empty of resources.
In the words of Arroyo, the excuse used is to lighten the waiting lists of the public health system: But the way for this is not privatization, but quite the opposite: investing in the public sector. Employers’ mutuals live at the expense of the contributions of these workers. Well, let us allocate those contributions to the public system, post the mutuals and complete a strong public system. There are legal avenues for this, only political will is needed.
Arroyo has questioned the governments of the CAV and Nafarroa: First of all, we ask Urkullu and Chivite to give a resounding no to this privatization attempt. That they make a clear commitment that the attention of the common diseases of these workers will not be entrusted to the employers’ mutuals. Secondly, to promote the opposite direction, so that companies can deal with the care of occupational diseases with Social Security and, consequently, management is carried from the public health system. The best guarantee for the health of workers is a powerful public system.