A recent Antibiotic Awareness Day, held on 18th November 2016, highlighted exactly how over-dependent on antibiotics Spain and the Spanish have become. In fact, it is apparent that many of us are completely ignoring the dangers of such over-reliance. While 26,000 people across Europe currently die every year from infections that are immune to antibiotics (such as new strains of tuberculosis) the scary fact is that by 2050, that figure could easily rise to 10 million worldwide. The problem is seen as so pressing, that in September 2016, the 71st UN General Assembly adopted a political declaration calling for a 'collaborative, global response to the threat of antimicrobial resistance'.
Madrid health authorities are currently taking measures to contain a recent outbreak of Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) in the region after one man died with the nurse treating him also contracting the disease.
It's believed that around 200 people that may have recently come into contact with the two victims are also being closely monitored to ascertain whether they have also been infected.
In another separate case a 62 year old man died on the 25th of August at Madrid's Gregorio Marañón hospital after it is believed that he was infected by a tick while walking in the countryside in the Castilla and León region.
CCHF is usually endemic to Asia, Balkans, Africa and the Middle East and it is thought to be the first case of the disease that has been contracted domestically in Spain and Western Europe.
The disease is caused by the tick-borne virus (Nairovirus) of the Bunyaviridae family and can be fatal in up to 40% of cases with death usually occurring with the second week of infection.
If you're unfortunate enough to be awaiting an operation with the Spanish National Health Service you will know that waiting times are increasing. This has been a problem that has been compounded over the past four years or so, thanks to emergency spending cuts throughout the country. The bad news is that the situation does not seem to be improving.
Accessing the Family Doctor
In 2014, 74% of citizens in the Valencia Region were unable to get an appointment with their family doctor overnight in public health centres, and nearly 10% had to wait up to two weeks for an appointment. Appointment times do vary across Spain, with some areas such as Asturias, managing to find 62% of patients an appointment overnight. The Balearic Islands fare the worst, just 20% of residents can access an overnight appointment.