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The proposed privatisation of six hospitals and 27 clinics in Madrid has provoked protests, sit-ins and demonstrations by doctors, many of whom have also resigned.

Doctors have now been on strike for a month, and it is estimated that around 40,000 medical tests and 6,000 operations have been carried out late as a result.

Four staff members are also on hunger strike and doctors have broken off negotiations with the authorities. Despite this, the law to privatise the hospitals is expected to be passed later today.

The Spanish healthcare budget has been cut by six billion euros a year and the unions say that patient care is already suffering as a result.

The regional authorities say that these Madrid privatisations will mean saving a further 500 million euros.

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