Madrid mental health center faces psychologist shortage due to long waitlists: “We’re burned out”

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News Team

The Juan de la Cierva health center in Arganda del Rey is facing a loss of two health professionals, Verónica and Marina, who have decided to resign from their positions due to the lack of resources and long waiting lists. The two psychologists have been working at the center since 2018 and claim to be the only mental health professionals serving a population of over 200,000 people.

In their resignation letter, Verónica and Marina express their frustration with the inability to work under quality conditions that guarantee the rights and needs of patients. They mention being forced to care for patients for over a year after being referred, with many of them in crisis and intense suffering. Additionally, they state that they are unable to offer psychological care or treatments with a decent frequency, with appointments only available every three months.

The Community of Madrid is set to have the lowest investment per inhabitant in healthcare by 2024. Despite the poor conditions for treating patients, the two health professionals report feeling ignored and unheard despite their labor complaints. They express frustration with the lack of response to their demands, suggestions, and proposals.

Marina and Verónica were the only psychologists at the center, which lacks professionals to address the minimum coverage of Madrid’s public health system. The Workers’ Commissions (CCOO) argue that there will now only be a single child and adolescent psychologist and a waiting list for adults of over a year for the first consultation.

The population of Arganda del Rey has had two clinical psychologists, compared to the average of 5.5 specialists per 100,000 inhabitants in the Community of Madrid, which is well below the European standard of 18 psychologists per 100,000 inhabitants.

Despite the claims made in the resignation letter, the Ministry of Health and the Community of Madrid detract from its value, stating that the content is not faithful to the reality regarding the lack of actions from management and service leadership to address the demand for care. They argue that actions have been permanent and constant, with the participation of professionals.

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