Thomas Cobo Castro is the new president of the General Council of Official Medical Associations. With a degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Cantabria and a specialist in Anesthesiology and Resuscitation, Cobo comes to the collegiate organization with the aim of modernizing the institution and promoting continuing medical training.
“From the Institution we have to approach the youngest doctors“considers the new representative of the Spanish doctors, who warns the administrations that the WTO will collaborate in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic but it will not be “collaborative”. Hours after being elected, Tomás Cobo explains to Medical Writing what are your goals.
How has the electoral day developed?
It has been tense, I have finally won by two votes, it has been disputed. It is part of Democracy and of what is an open democratic process to which four candidates have run. It was quite exciting in the end.
Do you think you have opted for change?
Definitely. The majority have voted for the change and modernization of the Institution. For making it more agile, dynamic and attached to the healthcare reality of the doctor.
What will be the first decision you make as the president of the WTO?
The first decision has been, just sworn in, to keep a minute of silence for the comrades who have passed away. They are dead and that is irrevocable, they have had the courage to give their life and their health for the benefit of others. Once again we have lived up to what we have inherited from the medical profession for centuries. It is the first tribute that I have wanted to pay.
From now on we will get to work in various areas, we have to reform the statutes of the General Council and the Code of Ethics. We have to promote very nice projects like the Faculty of Pan-African Medicine. We have many things to do and we have to carry them out at the speed at which life circulates today.
He warns that the Code of Ethics has to be modified. What are the most necessary changes?
“In no case am I going to leave my care work. The meaning of my life is Medicine and it is the patients”
Three revolutions have fallen to our generation: the internet, globalization and now we are in Big Data. One of the things that the Code has to be aware of is Big Data, which includes telemedicine and information processes through images. We are also immersed in euthanasia and whatever comes next.
He commented that the first decision he has made has been to pay tribute to his colleagues who died from Covid-19. Will the WTO dialogue with administrations regarding decisions taken during the pandemic change?
Everything that is to promote, stimulate, inform or collaborate with the Administrations, they will have us in the first line. Finally, we are free advisers of the Administration, what we want is that all the help that we offer them does not fall on deaf ears. It is one thing to collaborate and another to be collaborators.
Will they be more critical of decisions that they do not consider correct?
No, we are going to promote and streamline the relationship with the Administration to the extent that it is. Constructive criticism, we will be collaborators but not collaborators, what we think is wrong, we will clearly express it.
One of the greatest demands of doctors is to homogenize remuneration, how are you going to work for it?
We have the Forum of the Medical Profession and from there we will fight. It is not fair that 50 percent of professionals in the health system are on a precarious contract. It is not fair either that our salary, on average, is much than that of our colleagues in Europe. In addition, there is another important pillar that is that of continuous medical training, and the time we have there is very little.
Nor is it explained why we are not a profession of risk like other professionals who have the opportunity to retire at a certain point in their lives. In our case, high-profession specialties do not have that opportunity. We will defend and fight it.
How are the demands and demands of the MIR going to be addressed?
“From the Institution we have to approach the youngest doctors”
From the Institution we have to approach the youngest doctors. There are two important issues to address: young doctors and gender equality.
Regarding the former, who are in a period of specialized medical training, what we have to do from the WTO is to promote this training, but not only by producing courses, but also with the accreditation of this training so that it is free of conflicts of interest make it international. We have to work hard to also promote the new lines of training, also related to digitization, we have to flee a little from traditional courses.
Will you continue your work at UEMS?
Without a doubt. We are extremely lucky that the new president of Surgery in Europe is Daniel Casanova. The Spanish medical profession is coming to Europe and this is how it should be. The Spanish healthcare model is solid, safe and dynamic. It has been able to, in a crisis that almost takes Humanity to the abyss, to sustain it. That our professionals are represented in Europe says a lot.
In the inauguration he has confessed “doctor until the bar”. How are you going to reconcile your position at the WTO with your professional career?
It will be how my life has always been, I will have no problems, I will organize myself and take time where I can. In no case am I going to give up my healthcare work, as far as I can I will have to reduce it, but the meaning of my life is Medicine and it is the patients, which is what makes me happy.
I will try to promote teamwork and not presidentialism, we have a vice-second who has arrived and a great vice-secretary who has just won. We have a new, young team that is in the healthcare field. There is no one outside the medical service, which is what we do.
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