The protesters demanded that the regional government provide normal funding for the system. In the country (especially in Madrid) there is a shortage of doctors who do not want to work for a small salary and with an increased workload. In November, they went on strike, which continues to this day.
“In Spain, the health system was very good. But in recent years it has deteriorated dramatically, especially after the pandemic,” said Ana Santamaria, a resident of Madrid, quoted by AFP. Her friend Susanna Bardillo has noticed that today doctor’s appointments have to be booked two weeks in advance, even the emergency rooms are overcrowded. “This system mistreats professionals and mistreats patients,” she said.
And this situation is not only developing in the capital, so many people have come from other cities to take part in the protest. There is also a shortage of medical professionals, which sometimes leads to the closure of public hospitals.
It should be noted that the health crisis erupted in the fall, when doctors began their strike to draw the authorities’ attention to the problems that had arisen, convince them to increase their salaries and improve working conditions. work. Negotiations between the unions and the Ministry of Health have been going on for several months, but so far no agreement has been reached.
As noted by Pepe Alvarez, general secretary of the General Union of Workers (one of the largest unions in the country), a paradoxical situation has developed. The Madrid region is the richest in Spain, but in terms of contribution to the public health system, it is in second to last place (only 1491 euros per year per inhabitant). “It’s a shame that with so much wealth, access to quality public health care is not guaranteed,” he said.
This demonstration has already become the third in a row, the first took place on November 13, the second on January 15. Previously, tens of thousands of people had also taken to the streets, but this time the demonstration was the largest.
Authorities in the region (and it is controlled by the People’s Party, which is now in opposition in Spain) see the protests as a political initiative ahead of the upcoming local elections in May. This is partly true, since various left-wing forces (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, United Left, Unidas Podemos and Mas Madrid parties) supported the protesters.
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