Health Reform and its Impact on Healthcare Workers: A Case Study of the National Clinical Hospital of Cordova, Argentina
Keywords:Heatlh Care Reform, Hospital Employees
AbstractSince the mid 1990’s, health in Argentina has no longer been considered a social function of the State but was transformed into a market commodity. Neoliberal decentralization favored the introduction of corporate methods and incentivized privatization. In practice, this led to self-management for hospitals, deregulation of social services and incorporation of private capital to the public health business. This exploratory study looks at the impact of these reforms in the public health services sector. It analyzes living and working conditions, changes produced in the organization of work and their effect on labor relations and on participation in union, political and social activities by workers at the National Clinical Hospital of Cordoba, Argentina. Data was primarily collected through an interview survey of a convenience sample of 68 workers from the non-teaching staff; this represents 10% of the total professional, administrative and maintenance staff of the hospital. The interviews demonstrate deterioration in income and living conditions. Hospital self-management for these workers led to increased competition, the fragmentation in the work spaces, tension and the distrust between co-workers, as well as increased intensity in the workload of some employees. The profile of these healthcare workers is structured and marked by silence, the resolution of the conflicts by means of individual action in the workplace, and minimal participation in social-political-union or community organizations.