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Home » Content » The Catalan Government raises a linguistic wall with the doctors of the rest of Spain
The Catalan public health authority will demand the compulsory nature of Catalan to work in Catalonia and, if it is not possessed, it will impose an exam

Ignasi Jorro

06.17.2019 00:00 h.

A lingüístic wall. This is what the managers of Catalan public health prepare. They will do so by camouflaging the requirement of mastery of the Catalan language in the new Voluntary Mobility Pact of the Instituto Catalán de Sanidad (ICS). The document will be discussed on July 12 in the Sector Roundtable and, if nothing prevents it, it will force mastering the Catalan language to work as a health professional in Catalonia or, failing that, passing an examination.

Sources in the health sector have warned that the document is already well advanced. It is very similar to the one a year ago, which shielded the mobility in Catalonia only to doctors who master Catalan language. The road map aims to provide ICS professionals with a permanent mobility system, which the unions like, but imposes requirements that squeak when it is not possible to appeal against them directly, according to sources consulted.

Obligatory nature of Catalan language

The most controversial new requirement is the Catalan language. In the voluntary mobility contests of statutory personnel of the ICS, the largest public company in Catalonia, with about 39,000 workers, mastering this language was a merit up to now. It will change now. Its knowledge will become mandatory through accreditation by means of a certificate [consult levels here] according to each professional category. If you cannot prove your mastery, you must pass a proficiency test.

The most direct consequence will be the impact on the mobility of health personnel from the rest of Spain who does not speak the Catalan language. This is so evident that some trade unions see clearly that, if the ICS raises the linguistic wall, a doctor who does not live in Catalonia and meets this obstacle can appeal it, invalidating this point. They believe that since Catalan public health is part of the National Health System (NHS), there is no such requirement. In this sense, it should be remembered that the obligation to know the Catalan language, in this case in the Balearic Islands, was one year old last March. It is still valid because the State Attorney withdrew the contentious-administrative appeal lodged by the government of Mariano Rajoy before the Superior Court of Justice of the Balearic Islands (TSJB).

This was not an obstacle for the rule to raise a great amount of fuss and even generate massive demonstrations against.

Controversy with primary care

The diktat prepared by the public provider of sanitary services, headed by Josep Maria Argimon has other edges. Another of the most controversial is the criteria of assessment of the training made by the hospital care personnel. The staff of this level of care can present the courses and training they have done to score if they want to change jobs within the ICS network (8 large hospitals and 283 primary care teams throughout Catalonia). This will give them the advantage of moving from working in an outpatient clinic to a hospital, something that happens relatively frequently. On the other hand, it will penalize primary health workers. This point, however, has different interpretations and divides the unions.

The obvious thing is that if the ICS tries to approve the Voluntary Mobility Pact on July 12, two things will happen. On the one hand, it will finally implement a stable mobility system for its staff with a fixed position (the last contest was closed in 2015). On the other, it will be exposed to criticism and possible legal actions against the demand of Catalán, something that tries to sneak surreptitiously into the regulatory framework. On this file has direct responsibility, in addition to Argimon, the director of Human Resources in the public entity, Ferran Fanlo.



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