Home Education Doctors rebel against the “blind” award of MIR places

Doctors rebel against the “blind” award of MIR places

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Until last year, the choice of places for resident internal doctors (MIR) followed a traditional and somewhat anachronistic formula: thousands of students from all over Spain who had passed the selective test had to appear at the headquarters of the Ministry of Health, on the Paseo del Prado in Madrid, to choose your position. In 2020 a mixed version was incorporated and 70% did so electronically. This year, Carolina Darias’s department has modernized the system to make it digital, but the solution has the medical profession on the warpath. Unions, schools and students assure that it is an “opaque and unfair” system that can leave 2,000 vacancies of the 8,000 places that go out to competition.

The new method is, on the surface, simple. Applicants for specialty positions fill out a form with their preferences. They have to do it between this Wednesday and June 16. If nothing changes, on the 17th the lists will be published with the place that each one has been awarded by the system based on their position and their preferences.

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The problem? That the applicants go “blind”, they complain. Traditionally, the seats were distributed in real time. When graduates went to the ministry they knew what positions were being awarded and could tailor their preferences to what was left. Being a choice with two variables, specialty and duty station, the possibilities are literally thousands. When this is adjudicated by the system, there is no ability to back down, to adapt to the circumstances to choose the place that most interests them among those that remain at all times, even if they were not the first preference.

This can cause, according to the unions, that they end up being left unfilled positions. They estimate that it may be about 2,000. “Many people will list jobs that don’t really interest them for fear of running out of any. At the moment of truth, it is very possible that they will reject them to present themselves the following year or, after a few months, they will leave their position ”, says Sheila Justo, president of the MIR sector of the Madrid union AMYTS and MIR technical secretary of the Spanish Confederation of Medical Unions.

Darias has appeared in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon to explain that the process is the consequence of a legal mandate that establishes that the calls have to be made electronically, as happens with “99%” of the places that are awarded. in public administration. “This system offers the same guarantees of justice, equity and security as the previous one. We have improved in efficiency and effectiveness. We have offered improvements and we are in a position to continue talking, but the procedure cannot be changed ”, he said.

Young people demonstrate against the telematic request in front of the Ministry of Health, on Paseo del Prado, at noon this Tuesday.
Young people demonstrate against the telematic request in front of the Ministry of Health, on Paseo del Prado, at noon this Tuesday. Bald Elm

Hundreds of students have demonstrated this Tuesday in front of the Ministry of Health to protest the system. “Telematic election is written and arbitrary assignment is pronounced”; “Do not confuse vocation with submission”; “Telematic choice = 2,000 fewer doctors”; “Without guarantees, without transparency it is not a choice, it is a sentence”, are some of the slogans that could be read on the posters of those gathered – who have strictly complied with the use of the mask but not so much with the separation distance -, who asked for the resignation of the minister.

Bárbara Cepero, 30, who has the number 7,914 (almost 8,000 places are offered) exemplifies how this new system of choice can affect her: “I want to choose family medicine. In this specialty, the hospital is chosen first and then the teaching unit, which is the health center. Two very distant centers can touch me. I would like to do it in Madrid, but since I don’t have a car, if I see that here I have two places that are far away and poorly connected, I still prefer to go to Almería, where maybe I have the possibility of choosing others that are close. This is something that can be calculated when the seats are given in real time, now we go blind ”.

The further back the person is on the list, the more difficult it is. This has always been the case, but now, instead of knowing which spots are left and choosing, you have to fill hundreds or thousands of spots to make sure you get one. These huge lists have an added problem, as Cepero relates: “As a family medicine it is the one with the most places [unas 2.000] and they are not the most coveted, many people, for fear of losing their jobs, will put them at the end of their list. If someone who really wants surgery does not get it and it is his family’s turn, he will surely end up rejecting the position. That position remains empty for four years and maybe he has taken it away from me, I do want it ”.

Vicenç Martínez, general director of Professional Ordination of the ministry, responds “surprised” to EL PAÍS about this controversy. “It is a digital generation that has done this same procedure to choose a career,” he justifies. As he says, when designing the system they considered it “unfair” that it be in real time and digital, since if someone for some reason had a connection problem at the specific moment in which they had to choose a place, they would be left without it. “Before, in 10 minutes, you had to choose with what they offered you. Here you have three weeks to think very well about your preferences, order them and select according to them ”, he assures. Martínez also rejects that there are going to be vacant places: “Before, the one with 9,000 left on the list, if there were 8,000 places, they would not come to Madrid. Now everyone, until 13,000 [el número aproximado de estudiantes que han aprobado] they can try it in case they catch one ”.

Demonstration this Tuesday of MIR in front of the Ministry of Health.
Demonstration this Tuesday of MIR in front of the Ministry of Health.Bald Elm

Carlota García, 24, has come to Madrid from Oviedo to emphasize that after a long time of study they are facing a position award in which “there is no transparency.” “I want anesthesia in Oviedo, but if it can’t be, I want to know my options to decide, not for a computer to award me the place,” he protests.

These demands are supported by the majority unions in the sector and by medical associations. The Collegiate Medical Organization, which groups together all the medical colleges in Spain, calls for dialogue and a system “safer and in real time” from the ministry. In case it cannot be telematic, since it seems difficult for it to be articulated this year, they ask to return to the presence.

Sheila Justo warns that, otherwise, the judges will have to decide, as happened last year, when they tried to test the telematics system and the justice suspended the process due to the lack of guarantees.

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