“It’s an oxygen pump for professionals”


Updated: Tuesday, December 1, 2020 2:54 PM

Published on: 12/01/2020 2:46 PM

Isabel Díaz Ayuso already has the photo inaugurating her new pandemic hospital, nurse Isabel Zendal, located in Valdebebas, Madrid. A controversial but also pharaonic construction which arrived a month late and which will only open part of its facilities.

It will do so with only 111 volunteer health workers who will lose other hospitals or health centers in the Community of Madrid. Only a hundred of the 669 professionals announced by the Ministry of Health. While the key to running a hospital are the workers, Zendal also arrived with fewer beds than expected: 240 out of 1,000 promised.

But Ayuso looked away in his long-awaited act and turned a deaf ear to the dozens of health workers who gathered at the gates of his “star” measure to protest the “waste of money”.

“We are in the Community of Madrid to save lives, that is the only goal. A large public hospital cannot be bad news for anyone unless political sectarianism sees it that way”, said the popular president, which has rejected criticism of its management during the pandemic.

“They criticized us for purchasing antigens and now it turns out that is the key for the vast majority of countries. They criticized us when we asked for it to be done in pharmacies while this is already happening in many countries, ”Ayuso said.

But a few feet from where she recited her speech, the white tide has not stopped demanding what never comes: a strengthening of primary care and more trackers to stop the pandemic.

“We are here because we had 100 million euros and instead of spending it on strengthening primary care, hiring trackers, which is necessary to end a pandemic, we decided to build another hospital, with 699 beds closed since the start, “criticized Alma Blanco, a nurse and member of the Health Workers’ Assembly Movement.

The figure is impressive and it is not for less because it was projected at around 50 million: it cost twice as much. And how will the 80,000 square meters built be filled? The ministry’s response is clear: with the forcible transfer of health workers from other hospitals in Madrid that need it, workers under COVID reinforcement contract.

The opening ceremony brought a lot. Proof of this is the silence of Díaz Ayuso in front of the question of the leader of his party, Pablo Casado, who asked him if there were operating rooms in Zendal. It makes more sense than ever that the “fine print” isn’t his thing, as he once demonstrated in a reporter’s question about hospital staff. But are operating rooms in fine print?

Ayuso described the center as “a hospital for Spain” which will be “the lung of treatment” in the face of emergencies and an “oxygen pump for health professionals”. We will have to see if this is ultimately the case.

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