SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Thousands of Spanish doctors, nurses, and hospital staff have taken to the streets of Madrid to protest against the government’s austerity cuts squeezing the health sector.
Dressed in white and chanting, "Shame!" and "Health cuts kill," the protesters gathered outside the Assembly of Madrid on Wednesday to denounce a planned privatization of the public health system, AFP reported.
Madrid’s regional government plans to privatize six hospitals and 27 health centers of the 270 in the region, insisting that the plan is necessary for the region to meet its tough deficit targets.
Healthcare cuts are "an attack that will have consequences on the quality of healthcare," said Jose Gabriel Gonzalez, a 52-year-old doctor.
"There will be fewer doctors and fewer safeguards for people to receive all the services they need. We protect the health of Madrid. This is hurting me, but ultimately, it's the patient who will feel it," he added.
Meanwhile, six unions representing doctors, nurses and other hospital staff say they will go on strike on December 19 and 20 to express their outrage at the cost-cutting plan by the crisis-hobbled national government.
"As well as a loss of quality of care if this plan goes ahead, there will be the loss of up to 8,000 jobs," said Jose Manuel Freire, leader of the nurses' union SATSE, in a statement announcing the new strike later this month.
Spain’s health sector has been hit hard by the austerity policies introduced by the right-wing government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to try to bring down the country’s fiscal deficit to more manageable levels.
The eurozone's fourth-largest economy must lower the deficit to 6.3 percent in 2012, 4.5 percent in 2013, and 2.8 percent in 2014. Economists, however, say those targets will be difficult to meet amid poor prospects for the country’s economic recovery.-www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV