A report from the General Audit Office of the Province of Salta (AGPS, for its acronym in Spanish) confirmed irregularities in the management of the human resources of two health centers in the municipality of Joaquín V. González. There were entire areas in which there is only one worker, no replacements in case of leave; an agent who was on call for 792 hours in a row, and even a pharmacy manager who also served as a midwife, despite not being able to do so, and receiving a salary of 500 pesos.
The research was approved last year, on data from 2012 and analyzed, on the one hand, the operation of Oscar H. Costas Hospital. In that health care center, the Watchdog observed that "only one person integrated the pharmacy area." That person is also the Head of the area, in charge of serving both the public and the different services of the hospital, and all of that without having a replacement in case of having to go on leave.
Also regarding human resources, the Audit detected that some 34 agents provided services "in situations not provided for in Article 2 of Law 7,678 of the Statute of the Public Health Career of Salta". About the salaries of these agents, the report found that they received payments in two ways; on the one hand, the Municipality of Joaquín V. González and, on the other, "with the application of funds obtained from the Nacer Plan," which has a Public origin.
Also, and perhaps unintentionally, the AGPS added a new chapter to an eventual saga that could be called "the public superagents."
According to the report, "a professional of the Ministry of Government served in the same period (2012) covering 24-hour on-call services in the field of a general practitioner for 33 business days (total 792 hours) and weekends. Which implies a situation of time incompatibility to perform both functions simultaneously, "notwithstanding that, following the reasoning of the text, the agent above could have forced his physical capacities to a paroxysm.
To complete the picture, during a visit to the Hospital Oscar H. Costas, the auditors made an attendance control. It was 11 in the morning and, according to the report, "it was verified that of the 15 professionals surveyed at that time, 11 of them were not present at their place of work, or they were in different areas from where they had to perform functions".
Also, "there was a lack of professionals in the specialties of anesthetists, neonatologists, pediatricians, pediatric nurses, laboratory technicians and health agents," among others, listed the investigation.
However, the visit of the auditors to the health center was not limited to taking attendance; in the walkthrough, they observed that "the state of accumulation and disorder of the file where the medical records are, makes it difficult to preserve, search and update. They even found the presence of rats and other rodents," confessed the AGPS.
Also, the Sterilization and Hemotherapy Services "do not have clear lighting, bathroom or clothing for the staff," the report said. The same shortcomings can be found in the Laboratory and the Pharmacy that, also, work without the corresponding authorizations of the Salta authorities and do not have smoke sensors, fire extinguishers or hydrant niches.
Regarding the hospitalizations, the technicians pointed out that the Hospital "does not have the minimum surface area per bed; none of the services (except pediatrics) has a waiting room, heating equipment or storage for the storage of common and pathogenic waste."
The health center does have some ambulances that, however, have flaws. According to the Audit, "two areas do not have basic cardiovascular assistance equipment, respiratory assistance equipment, delivery kits or infectious-contagious diseases. And another does not have a blood pressure monitor, thermometer, ophthalmoscope; and does not have basic cardiovascular assistance equipment or respiratory assistance equipment. "
Another One of Superagents
On the other hand, and also in the town of Joaquín V. González, more precisely in the area known as Salta Forestal, operates the 25 de Junio Health Center. And there, the Audit found that "the ambulance driver and the pharmacy manager are informal workers, and the latter also performed functions for care and auxiliary deliveries without having qualifying title. On the other hand, the person in charge indicated that during the year 2012 she received a monthly remuneration of $500."