High Hopes for Spain’s New Minister of Health

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After a recent course of political shifts, Spain now finds itself with a new minister of health; the third since this past June.  Maria Luisa Carcedo, who was named as the Spanish minister of health by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on September 11, has replaced Carmen Monton, who resigned after holding the position for only three months. Monton chose to step down as minister due to a scandal surrounding her master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies from the Public Law Institute of Rey Juan Carlos University in which she faced allegations of plagiarism for copying 19 of the 52 pages of her final thesis.

 

About the new minister

Maria Luisa Carcedo was born in the town of San Martin del Rey Aurelio, Austurias, in 1953. She attended the University of Oviedo and holds a degree in Medicine and Surgery, as well as a diploma in Business Medicine from the National School of Occupational Medicine.

Carcedo began her professional career as a primary healthcare physician for the principality of Asturias in Sotrondio and the El Natahoyo health centre in Gijón. She first took regional management responsibility in 1984 as the Director of the Health Department in Valle del Nalón for INSALUD (National Institute of Health) and later Director-General for Public Health of the Principality of Asturias until 1991. Carcedo also held a deputy position in the general board of the Principality and Minister of Environment and Urbanism and later served as spokeswoman for the Socialist Parliamentary Group.

Between 2008 and 2011, Carcedo acted as president of the Public Policy and Service Quality Assessment Agency. Later, from 2015 to 2018 she was elected as deputy of the Lower House of Parliament for Asturias during the 8th and 10th legislatures, then senator of the Upper House by appointment from the general board of the principality. On June 15, 2018, she was appointed as the High Commissioner for Child Poverty and also serves as Executive Secretary for Health and Consumer Affairs of the Federal Executive Committee of the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE).

 

What are her plans?

Since taking office, Carcedo has been highly focused on two subjects; CAR-T and pseudo-therapies. Presiding over the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System (CISNS), she has revealed the Strategic Plan of Advanced Therapies which will determine how the revolutionary oncology treatments will be financed.

To begin, reference centres using CAR-T medicines for both academic and industrial purposes will be designated within the National Health System. Centres will be selected objectively and will have to meet stringent quality and safety assurance standards. In addition, each autonomous community must identify and appoint their own CAR-T manufacturing centres.

In a similar move to drive innovation in the health system, Carcedo presented the Plan for the Protection of People against Pseudotherapies on November 14th in collaboration with the Minister of Science, Innovation, and Universities, Pedro Duque. The initiative is intended, along with other measures, to eliminate pseudo-therapies from health centres and universities. In a statement made by Carcedo, nearly 60 percent of the population believes the supposed benefits of acupuncture and 53 percent believe that homoeopathic products are effective.

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