- Title: SPAIN: Health workers at a Madrid hospital stage a lock-in to protest cuts
- Date: 12th July 2012
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MOTHER OF PATIENT, DIANA VILLA, SAYING: "Well we are very angry. There are a lot of budget cuts and my mother for example who has a very small pension has to pay for her drugs when she lives with no more than 300 euros per month. It is shameful." (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PATIENT, CONCEPCION DE LA PAZ, SAYING: "I come here to get cured but as soon as they do something I have to pay for it." DE LA PAZ JOINING HOSPITAL WORKERS AND CHANTING 'PUBLIC HEALTH ! PUBLIC HEALTH!'
- Embargoed: 27th July 2012 13:00
- Location: Spain
- Country: Spain
- Topics: Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAC3V1XEOWPTFCL4PUUJJJLALEU
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Health workers at the Ramon y Cajal Hospital in Madrid began a 24 hour lock in on Thursday (July 12) to protest against cuts in the health sector.
Under the slogan "health is not a business, it is everyone's right", about 300 workers staged the demonstration organised by the Co-ordinator of Hospitals and Public Health Centres of Madrid Region.
The workers said new budgets cuts are endangering public health and they believe citizens shouldn't pay more for their treatments and drugs. They are also against plans to privatise support services like food and maintenance.
Like nurse Juan Antonio Molero, many think they are paying for a crisis provoked by others in the financial sector.
"We want those who caused the crisis to pay for it, those thieves who left with all the cash!" Molero said, addressing hospital workers who had gathered in front of the entrance at the start of the action.
"The main loser is public health because they are cutting everything, not only the treatments, this is not even the most important, they are cutting everything, the material, the staff, other stuff too. In Spain, we really put up with a lot," hospital worker Immaculada Gonzales said.
Patients and their relatives were upset too.
"Well we are very angry. There are a lot of budget cuts and my mother for example who has a very small pension has to pay for her drugs when she lives with no more than 300 euros per month. It is shameful," said Diana Villa.
Her mother then joined the chorus of hospital workers chanting 'Public Health!' The lock-in comes a day after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy unveiled new austerity measures on Wednesday (July 11) designed to cut public deficit and try to avoid a full state bailout. The conservative leader announced a 3-point hike in the main rate of Value Added Tax on goods and services to 21 percent and cuts to unemployment benefits and civil service pay and perks.
Analysts said the draconian savings plan, tearing up several of Rajoy's campaign promises, showed Madrid was already under de facto supervision from Brussels even though it has not requested a sovereign bailout and retains access to bond markets. Some said the tax increases could exacerbate the recession.
The government has also demanded the autonomous regions which administer public health and education carry out drastic cost cutting measures.
Nation-wide demonstrations are scheduled on July 19.
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