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Spanish health workers stage fresh protest against cuts

10 december 2012, 12:17
0
Thousands of Spanish health workers clad in white medical garb marched in Madrid on Sunday in a fresh protest against government health cuts and privatisation plans, just days after a similar demonstration, AFP reports.

The latest action came after unions last week called on the region's 75,000 doctors, nurses and other health workers to stage protests and take strike action.

Several of the doctors at Sunday's protests said it was the first time they had ever joined a protest.

They expressed fears that the privatisation of some services planned by the conservative-controlled regional authority would damage the quality of care.

"I think it's shameful to attack the health sector," said 43-year-old doctor Javier Perez. He had voted for the ruling conservative Popular Party at the last election but would not do so again, he added.

Instead of reducing health sector jobs, Spain would do better by cutting the number of politicians and civil servants, he said.

Juana Vargas, a 55-year-old doctor from a hospital in northwest Madrid, said she too thought privatisation would result in worsening services.

The Madrid regional government plans to privatise six hospitals and 27 clinics of the 270 in the region.

Nationally, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government has slashed health spending by seven billion euros ($9.1 billion) a year as part of a campaign to squeeze 102 billion euros out of the crisis-racked country's budget by 2014.

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