“They treat us as administrative but we are on the front line against the pandemic”, pointed out Alicia Collazo, a psychologist at the Santojanni Hospital, one of the 167 professionals who work in the Buenos Aires health system under the category of general ranking, the same that encompasses the workers of the public administration of the City of Buenos Aires. In the Buenos Aires Legislature there are two bills that promote their passage to the career of health professionals, as contemplated in Law 6035, approved in 2018.
“Although we do the same tasks as our colleagues, today we are charging half a professional salary. We do not have stress licenses or other extraordinary situations, nor do we have the possibility of ascending, for example, to headquarters, ”Collazo warned. “The training they send us is typing or computing, issues that have nothing to do with our training or our daily work”he added.
The specialist explained that “once one obtains the professional title, what follows is the request for a change of function, and 3 or 4 years later you went on to a professional career. That was the case until, two years ago, the Government of the City closed any possibility of making this pass and those of us in that transition were caught between the categories. “
At the Santojanni Hospital there are around 15 professionals -General practitioners, social workers, psychologists, and an oncology specialist- who are awaiting promotion to the professional career category. Of the rest of the mental health team, a part was able to professionalize in 2003, when the Buenos Aires Legislature approved Law 1055, which enabled the passage to the professional career of those specialists who were part of the permanent staff of the general ranking “in professional function and performing care tasks in some state health effector, according to the responsibilities of their respective qualifying titles ”. However, this Law does not apply to those who obtained the degree or began to develop as professionals after the date.
Although Law 6035, approved in 2018, includes the different specialties that work in the City’s hospital and health system, the standard excludes nurses, instrumentation technicians and bioimaging specialists
“We remain hostages between political bids, but in practice we are as important as any health professional, we studied for years of undergraduate degrees and we have the corresponding titles, “said Liliana Román, surgical instructor at Rivadavia Hospital. “In the performance evaluations they ask us, the questions point to someone who works in public service or in an office,” he explained. However, he added, the ideal would be “a health career that includes everyone, each with his or her level and their specialty ”.
In this sense, Collazo, who has worked for 20 years at the Santojanni Hospital, pointed out that “going to the race is in principle an acknowledgment of rights, to stop feeling that we are on loan, as well as passing through.” Currently, he added, due to the coronavirus pandemic they are taking care of “the protocols, and we contain the patients, the families. We are on the front line against the pandemic and it would be a good time for them to recognize our work.”
Walter Audero, psychologist and part of the post traumatic stress team at Alvear Hospital, He explained that “in all cases we are professionals that the health system itself required at some point; we were there before the demand and then we assumed the commitment and the work, now what we ask is that this role that we fulfill be formalized ”. Audero began working at the Hospital in March 2005, caring for survivors and relatives of the victims of Cromañón. “The pandemic made our work evident once again, as it happens every time there is an emergency, but this claim that we raise is historical”, he warned and clarified that “in addition to the salary issue there is a professional scale to which we do not have access due to belonging to the general ranking”.
Of the total number of professionals who demand recognition of their degree and the tasks they perform daily, more than 100 belong to the mental health area. “With the coronavirus pandemic there is a demand that has to do with being intermediaries between the patient and the family members, and the suffering that each one is going through,” Audero said. In addition, he detailed, “we take care of receiving people and triage, that it is not a matter of taking the temperature and checking the symptoms, but of generating a situation of understanding, of trust so that the patient knows that if he has the virus, one will accompany him ”.
In April 2020, the Ombudsman’s Office presented a resolution, signed by defender Alejandro Amor, in which it requested the Permanent Joint Commission on Application and Labor Relations of the Executive Power of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires to recognize the right to enjoy professional stress licenses, adjust working hours and salaries with respect to the position and seniority as provided in Law 6035.
In June, two bills entered the Legislature of Buenos Aires, one signed by the deputy Juan Manuel Valdés (Front of All), and the other by the legislator Gabriel Solano (Front of the Left), which establish the pass to the municipal career of professionals from health. “A large part of the professionals in this category who do not agree with the tasks we carry out, judicially claimed and all were favored. But the judgments are individual and what we want is a collective solution ”Collazo said.
Report: Lorena Bermejo.