Health workers Sunday protested in Madrid, Spain over staffing issues and what protesters claim to be the favoritism of private health services.According to the protesters, the public health system has broken down due to the conservative regional authorities favoring private health services and disbanding public health services—leaving many hospitals poorly staffed. There have been similar protests since the COVID-19 pandemic, where healthcare workers demanded the government to provide them with adequate equipment and to stop cutting public health services.According to the European Public Service Union, the Spanish health budget has dropped in the public sector, but increased in the private sector. Furthermore, with these cuts, there has been overall reduced employment in the healthcare sector and salary cuts. The Spanish Central Independent and Public Employees’ Union (CSIF) stated that the government was not doing enough to support workers during the pandemic. They said that there is shortage of around 30,000 healthcare professionals which is severely below the European average. They have been pressuring the Ministry of Health for a wide-reaching plan of support since 2020.Isabel Diaz Ayuso, leader of the Madrid regional government, suggests that the protests are being pushed by left-wing rivals for their own political interests—ahead of the regional elections. She also denied that her party is cutting funding for public healthcare.Trade unions supporting healthcare workers such as Amtys Union are still waiting for Ayuso’s new proposals to improve healthcare.
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