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Photos: Mass demonstration in support of public health in Madrid

Tens of thousands of Spanish public health workers and their supporters staged a demonstration on Sunday to demand more primary health care staff and to protest against what they say is the progressive dismantling of the public health system in favor of private providers for part of the conservative regional government in Madrid.

The protest in the Spanish capital, dubbed the “white tidal wave” because of the white coats many protesters wore, was carried out under the slogan “Madrid rises for public health.”

The Madrid region is at the center of the current protests. The partial strikes began in the region last Monday, with a general strike called for November 21 for almost 5,000 Madrid doctors.

Sunday’s protest was called by neighborhood associations, unions and leftist political parties.

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The Community of Madrid, led by Isabel Ayuso, of the Popular Party, has been criticized in recent years, and especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, for the lack of personnel in hospitals and primary health care centers. .

The organizers say that although Madrid is the Spanish region with the highest per capita income, it is also the one that spends the least per capita on primary health care. They say that for every two euros spent on health in Madrid, one ends up in the private sector.

“The people of Madrid deserve quality primary health care and no delays of more than a week to go to the family doctor or pediatrician,” says a local doctors’ union.

Ayuso denies there is a staffing shortage and says protests and strikes are being orchestrated by left-wing parties in the run-up to next year’s municipal and regional elections.

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