The number of public health professionals in the city of Sao Paulo on leave after contracting Covid-19 has nearly tripled in less than a month. According to data from the city council itself, on December 9 last year, the city had 90 professionals on sick leave – including doctors, nurses, health agents and nursing assistants. Four weeks later, on January 6, 2022, there were 269 registrations, an increase of 198.8%.
The picture with respect to professionals from the public network removed by other flu syndromes, such as influenza, is not much different. In the same period of comparison, registrations increased from 502 to 1,209, an increase of 140.8%. Given all the reasons for the absence, the city of São Paulo had 1,585 public health professionals away from their activities until January 6. Additionally, 107 healthcare workers in the capital have died since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s an alarming number, it’s a ridiculous number and there is no way to accept it in a quiet way. We already imagined that this would happen, because in addition to the fact that we are living in a pandemic, an inter-epidemic [de Influenza], our professionals, due to fatigue and exhaustion, end up with greater exposure to contaminating themselves. These workers are sick not only because of their exposure to the virus, but because of the excessive and ridiculous workloads that increase the amount of pollution,” says Dr. Vanessa Araujo and representative of the São Paulo Medical Association (Simesp).
Categories of doctors and nurses have questioned recent decisions by the São Paulo City Council and say the appointment of 280 specialists is not enough to address the overburden accumulated in the last two years of the pandemic. Since December last year, the Municipal Health Department has decided to expand services in the primary network, especially in the Basic Health Units (UBS), such as influenza vaccination, universal testing for influenza and Covid, and the opening of UBS on Saturday.
GloboNews has received several reports from doctors working in the city’s core network of São Paulo about the situation they have been through in recent weeks. Upon their request, identities will be withheld and fictitious names used.
* Carlos: “The situation has gone too far, we are already exhausted”
“There is no hiring staff to help us, we have asked City Hall at the federal government level, and nobody is doing anything. So the mental health of the residents, who have gone through so many traumas due to the loss of family members, the mental health status of the health workers themselves is moving towards (…) The situation has reached its limit, we are already exhausted. We cannot take it anymore, the residents who are suffering, are the ones who wait in line for six hours and four hours…”
Paolo *: “What we are asking for are fairer terms”
“We are living under pressure, many colleagues have resigned, and thus the population remains unaided as ever, a much-needed population on the outskirts of São Paulo. What we are asking for are conditions that are fairer, more dignified and the least amount of recognition that would be respect for the doctor who works He works hard, works and continues to work for the benefit of the patient’s health. This is the only reason we persist even under adverse circumstances.”
Marcelo *: “The class gets sick”
“Two years and this issue has not changed and is even getting worse. Now we have an epidemic within a pandemic, an outbreak of influenza with new cases of coronavirus and this is draining more primary care resources that cannot now be allocated to who we should be going. And we are still facing these new flows that are emerging. (…) We see that the class gets sick, and they don’t realize it, and this will only harm everyone for everyone. The whole community loses, from specialists to patients ”
Maria*: ‘The nurses are tired and the doctors are quitting’
“Sick patients, sick professionals, overburdened professionals. This is what we have today: two years of a pandemic. The nurses are tired, the number of patients attending the test kits has increased. We have the PCR kits for coronavirus and influenza and the nurses are responsible for this collection. Doctors are resigning why Because they are overburdened.
According to medical Vanessa Araujo and a representative of the Doctors’ Union in São Paulo, the professionals are overworked and need the government’s attention. “No one can stand the pace that health workers are going in Brazil. It is a mixture of sadness, but it is a glimmer of hope and that is why we are continuing this fight. At this moment we find ourselves now. Breathing to cry out for the population, that we need help to overcome the epidemic and resume some normal life and health care of the population”.
In a note, the Municipal Health Service stated, “Since December, the Municipal Health Network has seen an increase in spontaneous demand for respiratory symptoms due to influenza virus and the omicron variant of Covid-19, squeezing the basics. In light of this, the ministry has expanded the service So that 469 Basic Health Units (UBS) will help care for these cases, which tend to be milder, without diverting to hospitalization.”
Also per the note, City Hall says it is “doing everything we can with its partners to provide the necessary coverage, and as of next week, the network will have an additional person on call at hospital emergency and emergency doors, as well as an increase of professionals in basic health units (UBSs), with Continuation of the recruitment process.
Exclusion of health workers in SP
|vacation period||December 9, 2021||December 16, 2021||December 30, 2021||January 6 2022||more|
Nurses confirm overload
A survey conducted by the Sao Paulo Regional Nursing Council (Coren-SP), which was obtained exclusively by GloboNews, showed that 81.7% of nurses, technicians, nursing assistants, midwives and trainees reported seeing more patients since the beginning of December last year. Nearly half of them also confirmed that they experienced verbal aggression, 33.7% had an increase in working hours, 29.8% worked more days, and 26.2% reported a lack of supplies.
“Today I am experiencing the worst moment of the pandemic, literally, I act this whole time. It is a shame, because now it is not just a covid virus. It is a flu, a flu … everything is weighing on a sector, you no longer have the ability to take care of people with the same And it’s already in the moment when we health professionals are already satiated. And all this time has passed. We thought we’d get a break and not. The worst happened,” reported Anderson, obstetrician, biomedical and nursing specialist.
Coren-SP survey, conducted from December 2021 (see below), had 252 participants, 53.6% of whom work in the city of São Paulo. For the council, the nursing sector in hospitals – public and private, basic health units and charitable foundations – is immediately feeling the effects of the increased demand for care.
Also, according to the council, this category is subject to situations that can affect the quality of care, such as increased service time and an increased burden on nursing and health professionals. “For the category, what weighs more is the increase in the number of cases because services, for the most part, are starting to disintegrate. Covid-19 beds have been closed due to fewer patients and wards are back to normal. Cases are increasing rapidly, units are not ready, and staff are overburdened” , says Coren-SP president, James Francisco dos Santos.
Santos also says there is a need for public attention to the need to hire more nurses, not just doctors. “It is not only the physician who provides care to the patient. The nurse gives continuity to this care. Psychological fatigue (from the category) has increased recently and the survey showed that overload was critical to mental health.”
An overview of the organizations in which the participants work
- 47.2% work in hospitals
- 18.7% work in emergency care
- 14.7% work in basic health units
- 10.3% work in medical clinics
- 42.5% of private enterprises
- 36.9% of municipal public enterprises
- 17.1% of state public institutions
- 13.9% of charities
Perceived conditions in that period
- 81.7% reported seeing more patients
- 40.9% reported having experienced verbal abuse
- 33.7% reported longer working hours
- 29.8% reported that they worked more days
- 26.2% reported a lack of supplies
- 10.7% reported a lack of personal protective equipment
- 9.5% reported having been physically assaulted
Cases reported by professionals
- 77.8% believe that previous conditions have intensified
- 75.4% did not receive extensive training to deal with the increasing demand for care.
Videos: All about São Paulo and the metropolitan area
“Entrepreneur. Music enthusiast. Lifelong communicator. General coffee aficionado. Internet scholar.”