Social security chief lied about medical degree for 11 years

Spokesman for Labor Ministry blames "technical error" for mistake Official biography of Tomás Burgos in Congress also stated he was licensed practitioner

A spokesman for the Labor Ministry on Tuesday blamed “a technical error” and “lack of communication” for a mistake in the official biography of the secretary of state for social security, which stated that he was a licensed physician.

Tomás Burgos, who was confirmed in the role by the Cabinet on January 30, never completed his medical studies, it has emerged after his appointment.

“Burgos never said he was a doctor nor lied on his resume, nor did he act in bad faith. He is sufficiently qualified to assume the position on his own merits,” the spokesman said.

However, sources at La Moncloa prime minister’s office said that the information that was sent to the Cabinet attributing him as a licensed physician “and expert in health administration” came directly from the Labor Ministry.

The problem, however, appears that Burgos may have led more people to believe that he was indeed a doctor. A search of the official congressional web pages has turned up information in which Burgos had stated he was a licensed practitioner. In his biographical details from the first time that he served as a Popular Party (PP) deputy, from 1993 to 1996, Burgos stated that he had a medical degree. In the following term, 1996-2000, he added “surgery” to his expertise list.

But by the following term, 2000-2004, he had removed the surgery reference and just left his medical degree.

In other words, for 11 years, Burgos had told Congress that he was a doctor when he wasn’t.

“You could write that you had a Nobel Prize in medicine and no one would check it out,” said one veteran politician.

The information on each biography that appears on the web pages comes from individual politicians themselves. They fill out a form and sign it, and are obliged to update the information each legislative term. For example, during the 1996-2000 term, Burgos changed his marital status to single.

Burgos has not responded to a request from EL PAÍS for an explanation.

After the story broke at the weekend, the information about his education was changed in his official biography. Instead of calling himself a physician, Burgos now says he “has formal medical training from Valladolid University.”

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