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Spanish health workers march against Madrid regional govt

MADRID (AP) — Several thousand health workers returned to the streets of Spain’s capital Sunday to protest what they claim is the dismantling of Madrid’s public health care system by its conservative regional government.

Carrying homemade signs with slogans that translated into English as “S.O.S. Public Healthcare” and “Stop Privatization,” the marchers clamored against staff shortages and criticized what they consider the favoritism shown by regional authorities toward private health care providers.

The event was the latest in a series of protest actions, including strikes, by Madrid’s public health workers against the capital region’s government, which is led by Popular Party heavyweight Isabel Ayuso.

The unions that organized Sunday’s demonstration said Madrid spends the least amount per capita on primary health care of any Spanish region even though it has the highest per capita income. They claim that for every 2 euros spent on health care in Madrid, one ends up in the private sector.

Ayuso has alleged the protests were motivated by the political interests of left-wing rivals ahead of May regional elections across most of Spain.

The Associated Press