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HEALTH

Spain has vaccinated ‘almost all’ care home residents against Covid

Spain is on track to reach its inoculation goal this summer as almost all of its care home residents have now received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, the FED care-home association told Reuters on Friday.

Spain has vaccinated 'almost all' care home residents against Covid
Image: Jaime Reina/AFP

Now that the vaccine has be given to the most vulnerable in the Spanish population, Spain can now begin to vaccinate the over 80s in the general population. 

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the country was on track to vaccinate 20 million people in the first half of 2021, in line with their summer goal. 

Spain has currently given 2.8 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and has fully inoculated 1.14 million people.

If the goal is reached in time, it means that Spain will have vaccinated around 42 percent of its population of 47 million population by the middle of 2021. 

The news come as a great relief as over 31,000 elderly nursing home residents have died of confirmed ot suspected Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. This is around 47 percent of the total number of deaths from Covid-19 in Spain.

Spain's public prosecutor is currently investigating more than 200 cases of potential criminal mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic in nursing and old people's homes. 

Now that 97 percent of nursing home residents have been vaccinated across Spain’s 17 regions, according to the FED, it hopefully means that the number of infections in care homes will continue to fall.

Health Emergency Chief Fernando Simon said earlier this week that for the first time since the start of the pandemic, people over 65 who live in care homes have a lower rate of infection than those who live in the general population.

FED’s president Ignacio Fernandez Cid said: “They are very positive data that allow us to be optimistic about the future. Immunity will allow us to gradually return to the longed-for lost normality.”

As well as care home residents, Spain has also been vaccinating healthcare workers and those who need full time carers. 

The next lot of Spain's Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will be given to the over 80s, while the AstraZeneca vaccine will be reserved for other key workers under the age of 55, such as teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters and members of the armed forces.

Healthcare professionals not working in hospitals will also be included in this group, such as pharmacists, physiotherapists, home assistance carers.

With current infection rates in decline, there are now 321 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in Spain, causing several regions to relax their restrictions.

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HEALTH

What is the average waiting time across Spain to see a doctor?

Find out the average amount of time you'll have to wait to see your GP, a specialist and get a non-urgent surgery in your region of Spain.

What is the average waiting time across Spain to see a doctor?

Where you live in Spain greatly affects the amount of time you’ll have to wait, from the first appointment with your family doctor to seeing a specialist and even through to an operation, if you need one. 

Two and half years after the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, which almost brought the country’s clinics and hospitals to breaking point, how is the situation now?

Here are the average waiting times in each region of the country, with data published by the regional health authorities. 

Andalusia
In Andalusia, the average wait time to see a doctor is four days. To see a specialist such as a dermatologist or a cardiologist, however, you will be waiting three months. Wait times for non-urgent surgeries vary depending on what you need. 

Aragón
Those living in Aragón will typically be able to get a doctor’s appointment within three days, but to see a specialist, it is one of the worst regions in the country, with an average waiting time of four months.

Asturias
The latest waiting times to see a doctor or a specialist in Asturias have not yet been published, but if you need a special test such as an MRI, you will be waiting more than three months.

Balearic Islands
In the Balearics, the average waiting time for an appointment to see your GP is one week, while if you need to see a specialist, you will be waiting around two months. For a non-urgent surgery, you will be on the waiting list for an average of four and a half months. The Balearic Islands are one of the worst places if you need a diagnostic test though with an average wait of more than six months. 

Basque Country
Data from the Basque Country has so far not been made available. 

Canary Islands
Like in Aragón, the Canary Islands is one of the worst places to live if you need to see a specialist with the longest waiting time of more than four months.

Cantabria
Cantabria has so far not updated its data on waiting times to see a specialist, but if you need a non-urgent surgery it has one of the longest waiting times at six months.

Castilla-La-Mancha
Those in Castilla-La-Mancha have one of the shortest wait times to see a GP, being able to book an appointment within just 48 hours. They’ll have to wait longer to see a specialist, however, with an average wait of two months. Those waiting for non-urgent surgery will be waiting another four months.

Castilla y León
In Castilla y León you’ll wait an average of six days before being given an appointment and two months to see a specialist.

Catalonia
Residents of Spain’s northeastern region wait an average of five days in order to get a doctor’s appointment. For diagnostic tests, the wait time depends on what you need. You will be on the list for five months on average for a colonoscopy and two months for an MRI.

If you need to see a specialist again it will completely depend on what type of specialist you need to see. For example, if you need to see a urologist you’ll have to wait five months, but if you need to see a neurologist you’ll be able to get an appointment in less than three months. If your doctor thinks you require non-urgent surgery, you will need to wait another four and half months.

Extremadura
In Extremadura, you’ll have to wait an average of four days for an appointment, while the waiting time to see a specialist will be around two months. Like Cantabria, Extremadura is one of the worst places to live if you need non-urgent surgery, as you’ll be waiting around half a year.

Galicia
Those in Galicia will be able to see a doctor in just three days, however, they have not published recent data on the wait time to see a specialist. They have however published data for non-urgent surgery which is an average wait of three months.

Madrid
Like in Galicia, in Madrid the waiting time for an appointment is just three days, but two months to see a specialist. For a test like an ultrasound or a CT scan, you will be waiting two months. If you need a non-urgent surgery, you’ll be on the waitlist for a further three months.

Murcia
The average wait time to see your GP has not been made available yet, but like in Andalusia, you’ll be waiting more than three months if you need to see a specialist. It’s one of the best regions for wait times for diagnostic tests though as you will be waiting less than one month. 

Navarre
Navarre has one of the shortest wait times for an appointment, available in just 48 hours. If you need to see a specialist, you’ll be waiting a further two months. Those waiting for a non-urgent surgery will have to wait an average of three months.  

La Rioja
Along with Castilla-La Mancha and Navarre, La Rioja has the shortest wait time to get a doctor’s appointment. Here, you’ll be able to see your GP in just 48 hours. This region is also the best to live in if you need to see a specialist or get a specialised test, with a wait of less than one month. If you need non-urgent surgery though it’s not so good, as you’ll be waiting an average of four months.

Valencia
Those living in Valencia have the longest wait out of all the regions for an appointment, where you’ll wait more than a month just to see a GP. When it comes to seeing a specialist you’ll need to wait another three months. And if you need surgery, you will have to wait four and half months on top of that.

The types of non-urgent surgeries the data refers to are hip and knee replacements. For other types of surgeries, it will depend on how urgent it is and what type of surgery it is. At the beginning of the year, there were more than 706,000 people waiting for an operation in Spain, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

You should be aware, however, that official data doesn’t always represent reality. Some readers have told us that currently, they are having to wait a month to see their GP in Catalonia and seven months to see a specialist.

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