Publication: Wednesday March 17, 2021 12:02 PM
Psychological assistance in the Spanish public health system is supported, although long waiting lists and lack of resources push patients to turn to private health. But can everyone afford to pay for a psychologist?
According to a study carried out by the Civio Foundation, a person has to work 9 hours and 41 minutes to be able to pay for a single psychology session in the private sphere. This is an estimate based on a citizen who charges the minimum wage of 1108 euros per month and taking into account that the average price of a psychology session is 75 euros in our country (a consultation is worth between 50 and 100 euros). The number of hours worked to be able to pay for a salary would be higher for a person whose salary is lower than this figure.
In the European ranking, Spain is ranked 14th among the countries whose citizens have to work more hours to pay a psychologist, behind territories like Bulgaria (9 hours and 11 minutes), Slovenia (9 hours and 8 minutes ).), Czechia (8 hours and 31 minutes) or Malta (7 hours and 50 minutes).
According to data provided by Civio, in Spain there are 5,714 people diagnosed with depression per 100,000 population and 5,129 with anxiety, although this data differs from reality since the long waiting lists for public health mean that there are a lot of patients without a diagnosis.
In Spain there is no health co-payment in psychology and there is no limit to medical sessions for patients, although the very small number of professionals prevents legal theory from becoming a reality.
According to the INE, in 2018 there were a total of 32,516 licensed psychologists, although only a very small number of these professions worked for public health: 2,397.
Javier Prado, spokesperson for the National Association of Clinical Psychologists and Residents in Spain, emphasizes that “to provide a service of minimum quality, we should have 12 professionals per 100,000 inhabitants only in the national health system”, that is to say 6 000 psychologists. The reality is again surprising: in Spain there are only five psychologists per 100,000 inhabitants.
The proof that psychology is not a priority branch of the public system is that in Murcia you have to wait 71.4 days for a first consultation, in Galicia 61.6 days, in Navarre 53.42 days, in Cantabria 62, 6 days, in the Balearics 62.9 days, in Castile -La Mancha 45 days, in Aragon 60 days, in Andalusia 26.7 days, in Asturias 26 days and in La Rioja between 15 and 60 days.