In the Social Security offices, various types of administrative procedures are carried out: retirements, maternity leave, disability, whether temporary or permanent, as well as the management of different benefits, among many others. The lack of personnel is evident to attend to these procedures, each of a certain complexity and for which specific training is required: “It is not the same to manage the European Health Card, which is a more routine procedure, than a leave due to disability “, for example, highlights a person who works in the public administration.
However, it is not only the lack of personnel that is causing the traffic jams in Social Security. To this is added the fact that public employees have to continue training to be able to resolve all the issues that are processed in these centers. Even if the demand is covered with new positions (in the next three years the workforce is expected to increase), the civil service must continue to receive training since each procedure requires a process and it is necessary to have certain knowledge about it. “About five years may pass for the staff to be trained in all the procedures.”
Another cause is the lack of coordination between administrations. Hortensia Rodríguez, a worker at this care service and a member of the Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) union, insists that offices are often collapsed by people who come to look for certificates that ratify their status as a pensioner in order to benefit from discounts such as the bus transportation, something that he considers should be provided directly from the town halls.
This CCOO spokesperson regrets that many older people have to travel and queue for a procedure for which the administrative takes just a few minutes. Hortensia Rodríguez estimates that about 40% of the users who visit Luis Doreste Silva’s office, for example, do so to search for this type of certificate. This is an average, according to her calculations, of about 100 people a day.
Another complaint of the union is that, when it comes to making an appointment, the system only opens the possibility of requesting an appointment in the next 7 days, which also contributes to the fact that the few places that there are are sold out quickly. In the past, appointments were opened for a period of up to 15 days, but there have been many changes. Both CCOO and UGT have presented numerous complaints alerting the citizens of the problems that this formula is generating.
Last year, the unions warned that they were not going to allow the Arucas Social Security call center (CAISS) to be dismantled, a piece of news that circulated among workers. It is an office that provides coverage to the north of the island, but even to people from other points when the system is very collapsed. Finally, keep operating.
The unions insist on the need for the public administration to carry out efficient management. “More staff, which takes between five and seven years to be trained, more help and inter-administrative collaboration,” are the keys to unblocking this system, according to Hortensia Rodríguez. In her opinion, with so much bureaucracy there are many people who are demoralized even when it comes to requesting help.
This situation contrasts with that of the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where it is easy to see that this collapse in the system is not appreciated and there are usually more facilities to obtain an appointment. In November of last year, this traffic jam at Social Security led to the dismissal of the former director in Las Palmas, Cristina Rodríguez. The Government Delegation in the Canary Islands, for the moment, has not clarified the reasons why this slowdown continues, nor if it will take measures in this regard.
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