Spain has experienced in the last year an increase in the demand for health services and also for workers who request days off for health reasons, according to a report from the Bank of Spain.
The number of working days that have been lost due to illness, accident or disability shot up in 2022 to all-time highin such a way that it has even exceeded the figures for 2020 and 2021, which were the 2 hardest years —due to coronavirus infections and its various consequences— of the COVID-19 pandemic, it collects Expansion.
“In the last year, there has been an increase in the demand for health services, the causes and degree of persistence of which are still uncertain. If these dynamics were to continue over time and were related to a persistent deterioration in the general health of the population Spanish, its economic impact could be significant“, summarizes the bulletin of the Bank of Spain.
The data also show an increase in employed people who lose days of work due to illness, temporary disability or accident. The figures from the EPA (Active Population Survey) “reveal a pronounced and continuous increase in sick leave in our country since 2020“, according to the document, published this Wednesday the 15th.
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“In particular, in the average for 2022, 4.1% of employed persons declared that they had not worked in the week prior to being interviewed, whether due to illness, temporary disability or accident. With this, the growing trend observed in sick leave since 2020, which clearly exceeds the percentages observed before the pandemic,” he specifies.
This increase “has been relatively greater among the youngest and among those of intermediate age,” continue the authors, who admit the “considerable uncertainty regarding the causes and the possible degree of persistence” of this situation, although they suggest that some of them may be related to the sequelae of COVID-19.
In addition, “this increase in the demand for health services has been accompanied by a rapid growth in waiting lists”, they warn in the bulletin for the first quarter of 2023, about the Economic effects of a possible lasting deterioration in the general health of the Spanish population.
“To the extent that these developments may be long-lasting and be associated with a persistent deterioration in the general health of the Spanish population, may require a structural increase in health spending —still difficult to quantify— and negatively affect —although with high uncertainty— to potential product“, they conclude.