From Owner Of 2 Clinics To Living Off A Handout

From Owner Of 2 Clinics To Living Off a Handout

On Calle Campomanes in Madrid there are two hotels and a bookstore specializing in texts in several languages. Just opposite, at number 10, lived the first years of him Fausto Baño. Born in 1940, he is a doctor, retired, and breaks a cliché: he does not have a large retirement pension. In fact, he has no pension. Baño is one of the 150 doctors that the Foundation for Social Protection of the Collegiate Medical Organization helps to make ends meet with an economic benefit. In his case, 1,330 euros “which is not enough for many luxuries,” he explains, but enough peace of mind to live. Even more so when his remaining savings run out, which he calculates will last him “two or three more years.”

What happened so that a doctor who has always practiced in Spain does not have a retirement pension and lives with help? Baño was born with a vocation for assistance: “If a friend fell when we were children, I would always go to help them,” he recalls. And he did not give up on his efforts until he graduated in Medicine in 1964. At the age of 24, title in hand, he searched for a specialty. “Then the MIR did not exist,” he qualifies. “You specialized by signing up to a hospital service, where you were under the tutelage of the director of that specialty, who accredited you as such after two years of training.” Thus, he studied two specialties, first Traumatology under the direction of Ángel Garaizábal; later, Rheumatology. To this he added extra training in acupuncture at the University of Granada and vertebral chiropractic at the current Hospital 12 de Octubre. “I tried to always be advanced in treatments for my patients,” he asserts.

It was there that he began his career as a doctor, almost always away from public health, where he did not agree with the facilities that the State gave to practice medicine. “I had two clinics of my own.” The first in Leganés, Clínica San Cosme, where he worked as a traumatologist for work accidents, with great activity thanks to the “construction boom” in the south of Madrid in the early 70s. The second, after closing the previous one due to the outdated scales and lack of economic sustainability, in one of the most privileged areas of Madrid: Diego de León. Opened in 1978, the Transvital Clinic was focused on Rheumatology, “with special treatments that were not seen at that time, such as galvanic baths or a CO2 laser” which, in Baño’s opinion, made his health center “the best clinic of this type in Madrid, and one of the most important in Spain”.


Baño also relies on some savings that he estimates will be exhausted in two or three years

That adventure lasted until 1994, as he explains that the economic crisis put a stop to many contracts with insurers, which, according to him, made a business that had been open for 14 years with a staff of five doctors, nurses, unsustainable… “At that time, the dismissal meant a month and a half of salary per year worked and the truth is that those compensations left me in the bones,” Baño admits about one of his great economic setbacks. And it is that to deal with said layoffs, he had to empty his private retirement insurance.

However, this doctor-entrepreneur (as he calls himself) did not stop and began a new adventure in Lanzarote, where he transferred his healthcare technology to start a new clinic that was active for two years. “I returned to Madrid because my mother was older and I sold all the devices to a doctor there,” he recalls about a process where all these equipment, being ‘second-hand’, lost 75% of their value.

To all this work history we must add a key fact: until 1995, doctors were not obliged to contribute as self-employed, as sources from the Spanish medical unionism explain to this medium. It was only necessary to be registered with the Tax on Economic Activities (IAE), which involved the payment of a fee, and with this it could already be exercised but of course, without contributing to a future public pension.

Job instability as a doctor

But let’s go back to history, to Madrid. It is 1996, political change in Spain, José María Aznar takes over from Felipe González in Moncloa and Baño undertakes a change (or return) of life. “I began to stumble as a contracted doctor in various centers in the capital, from clinics to nursing homes,” he explains about that time. A time in which he achieved some stability in a center until he retired at the age of 74. In fact, he is an honorary member of the Madrid College of Physicians, as confirmed by this institution.

Since then, the aforementioned economic benefit from the WTO, those dwindling savings and the sale of the family apartment in Madrid have allowed him to subsist with a life that Baño admits is modest. A reality that does not make him regret anything he has done: “I don’t know if I would change anything in my life because I have been and am in love with Medicine,” he clarifies. His farewell phrase leaves no doubt: “It wasn’t work, it was enjoyment.”

Although it may contain statements, data or notes from health institutions or professionals, the information contained in Redacción Médica is edited and prepared by journalists. We recommend to the reader that any health-related questions be consulted with a health professional.



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