Large Spanish protest against health privatization

January 7, 2013 by Harold Heckle
A demonstrator takes part in a National health workers march during the first major demonstration of the year, in Madrid, Monday Jan. 7, 2013. The demonstration was against government-imposed austerity measures and labor reforms in the public health care sector in Madrid. Word painted on her face reads' Health.' (AP Photo/Paul White)

(AP)—Thousands of Spanish medical workers marched through downtown Madrid on Monday to protest against budget cuts and plans to partly privatize their cherished national health service.

The march is part of a series of such demonstrations, described as a "white tide" because of the color of the medical scrubs many protesters wear. Participants on Monday walked behind a large banner saying, "Health care is not to be sold, it's to be defended."

Monica Garcia, spokeswoman for the Association of Medical Specialists of Madrid, which initiated the march, said her organization would continue to protest "the loss of our public health care, a national heritage that belongs to us and not to the government."

She said the regional government was trying "to obtain economic benefit" from a system it had not invested in.

Health care and education are currently administered by Spain's 17 semi-autonomous regions rather than the central government.

National health workers march during the first major demonstration of the year, in Madrid Monday Jan. 7, 2013. The demonstration was against government-imposed austerity measures and labor reforms in the public health care sector in Madrid. Main banner reads' Don't sell it, defend it' (AP Photo/Paul White)

Many regions are struggling financially as Spain's economy has fallen back into recession, having never recovered from a real estate crash in 2008. Some regions overspent in the good times but are now unable to borrow on financial markets to repay their huge debts, forcing them to make savings and even request rescue aid from the central government.

The region of Madrid proposes selling the management of six of 20 large public hospitals in its territory and 27 of 268 health centers. It argues that's needed to fix the region's finances and secure health services.

Doctor Agustin Reverte, 31, said privatizations would lead to less diagnostic tests on patients who will be attended by fewer medical staff, reducing the overall quality of the service.

"Those in government have money, so they don't care if they have to pay for health care," said Aurora Rojas, a 55-year-old nurse. "But the rest of us who just have a regular salary will not be able to afford decent treatment," she said.

shares

Related Stories

British minister heckled over health reforms

February 20, 2012

(AP) -- Britain's health minister was angrily heckled Monday over health care reforms that the government says will improve efficiency but opponents claim threaten the foundation of the country's state-funded health care ...

Spain to save 10 bln euros with health, education reform

April 9, 2012

The Spanish government, which last month introduced a tough 2012 budget, said Monday it expects to save another 10 billion euros ($13 billion) by making public services like education and health care run more efficiently.

Thousands protest Spain's health care austerity

December 9, 2012

(AP)—Thousands of Spanish medical workers and residents angered by budget cuts and plans to partly privatize the cherished national health service marched through some of Madrid's most famous squares on Sunday.

Thousands in Spain protest health privatization

December 17, 2012

(AP)—Several thousand Spanish public health workers and other people marched from four main hospitals in Madrid to converge on a main square in the capital Sunday, protesting the regional government's plans to restructure ...

Recommended for you

New weapon in the fight against malnutrition

August 4, 2015

UBC scientists have opened the doors to new research into malnutrition by creating an animal model that replicates the imbalance of gut bacteria associated with the difficult-to-treat disease.

Can four fish oil pills a day keep the doctor away?

July 7, 2015

Fish oil is one of the most popular dietary supplements in the U.S. because of the perceived cardiovascular benefits of the omega-3 it contains. However, scientific findings on its effectiveness have been conflicting. New ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.