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.

Explore further: Thousands in Spain protest health privatization

shares

Related Stories

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 ...

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.

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.

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 cuts subsidies for more than 450 medicines

June 28, 2012
Spain's cash-strapped government is eliminating state subsidies for more than 450 medicines, ranging from cough remedies to the pain-killer codeine.

Recommended for you

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

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.