We are an Spanish Association of Doctors and Pharmacists without Official Specialist Title (MESTO-FESTO) who, after waiting for many years for the opportunity to legalise our statuses and despite having received recognition from all of the parliament groups in the Spanish Congress of Deputies by consensus, are watching the months go by with one obstacle after another preventing our legalisation.
The origin of the MESTO-FESTO, Doctors and Pharmacists without Official Specialist Title, is the result of a significant government planning error which led to the expelling of thousands of university graduates from the official training system (MIR system) while the progressive growth of our healthcare system constantly required a greater number of specialists. A significant deficit.
There were 141,273 university graduates between 1980 and 2003 with only 82,704 training vacancies which left 58,569 doctors (41.5% of university graduates) without any possibility of accessing a specialised official training vacancy when the specialist title is essential to practising medicine in Spain.
This constant deficit of specialists led to the need for an alternative means of training for a generation of specialists, the MESTOS. The same occurred with pharmacists specialising in hospital pharmaceuticals, the FESTOS.
The MESTO-FESTO are real specialists without official recognition who practise as doctors and pharmacists within their specialties with full liability and backed by between 15 and 30 years of daily work, many times hired by the public administration to practise specialist medicine and surgery.
A procedure to legalise the granting of specialist title to these professionals is necessary
It would not be the first time for a legalisation process in Spain. There are precedents; the two most well-known and recent processes took place in 1994 and 1999 with the enactment of two Spanish Royal Decrees which were a proper, yet insufficient, attempt to resolve the issue that continues to remain unresolved today.
The period of practise in these former legalisation attempts limited access for a few thousand specialists who we left waiting for a new legalisation process which has been considered necessary for some time but never arrives.
Physician unemployment is currently on the rise in our country. The lack of job security associated with the lack of an official specialist title means our group of doctors is the most vulnerable group of senior physicians as far as unemployment.
The Partido Popular, which is currently governing our country, is not doing everything it defended in the prior legislature when it was the opposition party. The videos and minutes of the Spanish Congress of Deputies sessions as well as their public declarations are out there and shaming them. What seemed just and easy to resolve as the opposition party before cannot be done today by the same party which is governing with an absolute majority due to political interests and only due to political interests.
The Association of Doctors and Pharmacists without official specialist title is working to gather support and holding meetings with all sectors that may be of assistance: political, union, legal, medical, institutions, associations, etc. to reach a definitive solution for the current status of the MESTO-FESTO. We already have the support of many members of these sectors but one fundamental link is missing - political will.