Hundreds of thousands march for Madrid healthcare – KGET 17

MADRID (AP) – Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards flooded the streets of Madrid on Sunday in the biggest protest yet against the regional government’s management of the capital’s health services.

More than 250,000 people gathered in the city center, according to data from the central Spanish government. The organizers claimed that the audience was larger by several hundred thousand. Many protestors carried homemade signs with messages in Spanish such as “The right to health is a human right.” Defend the health service.”

Health workers’ associations led the demonstrations, which were supported by left-wing parties, unions and ordinary citizens concerned about what they see as the dismantling of the public health system by the conservative government of the Madrid region.

These groups have been taking to the streets regularly in recent months, and their movement is getting stronger.

Madrid regional chief Isabel Díaz Ayuso says the protests are motivated by the political interests of left-wing rivals ahead of regional elections in May across most of Spain.

Health workers claim that Diaz Ayus’ administration spends the least per capita on primary health care of any Spanish region despite having the highest per capita income. They say that for every 2 euros spent on healthcare in Madrid, one ends up in the private sector.

Critics of her administration say it leads to long patient waits and overworked doctors and nurses.

Spain has a hybrid healthcare system, but the public sector is larger than the private sector and is considered the main pillar of the state. It is run by the Spanish regions.

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