The imminent privatisation of hospitals and health centres brought thousands of workers onto the streets of the Spanish capital on Tuesday evening.
Protesters blame the ongoing austerity drive for a plan to make six hospitals and 27 clinics private in the Madrid region alone.
Unions say patient care is already suffering as the
healthcare budget is cut by six billion euros a year.
One of the demonstrators, Dr Conchita Arroyo said:
“They cannot privatise something that belongs to all of us and that we already pay for with our taxes.”
While Javier Mardonez, a public hospital caretaker said: “The sad fact about this whole process is that they’re turning healthcare into a market.
Healthcare and education are not like markets. And yet they are setting up healthcare centres as if they are opening up shops; and hospitals are turning into shopping malls.”
The rally rounded off the second day of a health workers’ strike. Some specialist doctors are holding indefinite action. Unions have called staff out for two more days next week.
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