Meet with representatives of the Sindic at their offices in Alicante.
The Sindic was asked to update us on the progress of the many complaints lodged with his office throughout 2008 – 2009. The response was that a report would be made to us within the next few weeks. They further stated that whilst not only his office, but also the office of the National Ombudsman in Madrid (with whom they are in contact), were very sympathetic with our situation, it was unlikely, particularly in view of current economic conditions, that the new law would be changed.
The Sindic did make the point that the new law regarding health care in the Valencian Region has resulted in very many Spanish Nationals finding themselves in the same situation as the expats that are so affected. Everyone, of whatever nationality, who does not contribute to the Social Security system has to either seek private health insurance, or join the Valencian Government’s health insurance scheme.
Regarding the “sin recursos” (poor) rules, even the Sindic’s office has not been able to obtain clear instructions as to its implementation. PUMA22 will continue to explore all avenues to try and obtain some clear guidelines. At the same time, we would encourage those who either cannot afford to join the system, or who are having any difficulties in registering, to contact us in order that we may be able to offer advice and/or assistance.
On a positive note, the Sindic did say that it was certainly the political position of the Spanish National Government, that health care in Spain would be made universal and free as soon at it was considered practicable to do so.
The Sindic was asked about the position of children under the age of 18 years and the National law, Ley De Menor. He stated categorically that it was Spanish National Law that ALL children, and pregnant women are entitled to free health care, and that the law could not be superseded by Regional Law. He advised any parents, or pregnant women, who were having any difficulties at all in obtaining a SIP card for their children, or in the case of pregnant women, for themselves, to make a formal complaint to his office as soon as possible.
Regarding the series of complaints made by PUMA22, together with the official complaint lodged at the end of the demonstration march of 10th December 2009, none of which has ever been acknowledged or responded to by the Valencian Authorities, the Sindic stated clearly that this was an unacceptable situation which they would bring up with the Authorities.
To sum up, this was a useful meeting where PUMA22 was able to make its position clear, and that position clearly attracted a sympathetic hearing, even though there is little practical result, apart from the unambiguous statement regarding children and pregnant women.
PUMA22 think it right at this time to advise that although we will continue to vigorously lobby, both in Spain and the UK, for either a change to the Valencian Law on health care, or assistance from the UK, we have to accept that for the time being, that those who have had their healthcare withdrawn, must now either take out private medical insurance, or join the Regional scheme, or if appropraite try to register for “sin recursos”.
We have come a long way since we started. Government agencies both here and in the UK are now certainly aware of you through PUMA22 and its activities on behalf of us all, and are taking us far more seriously.
You will be aware that PUMA22 has in recent months focussed particularly on the issue of the change in the law regarding healthcare here in the Valencian Region and whilst, as already stated, we will not let this matter rest, we will also now be directing attention, on behalf of all our members and supporters, to other health care related matters.
We are right now in the process of registering PUMA22 as an official association. We have been advised by a supportive lawyer that by doing so, we will be better recognised by the various Government and Municipal agencies and will be better placed to deal directly with them. We also hope that such registration will result in a little charitable funding.

Over the next few weeks, PUMA22 will be making its plans known via the press, the website at www.puma22.org, the Facebook page, Sick and abandoned – British expats in Spain, and of course by email.

All we would ask now is for your continued support and your continued encouragement of others to join us. PUMA22 is about you and your future life here in Spain – if you don’t help yourself, no one else will. The PUMA22 statement “Together we can make changes” is as true and important now as when we first started.


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