MADRID – The president of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso (PP) is known for her controversial statements and actions. The far-reaching privatisation of public health care is particularly criticised. The latest fuss is about spoiled food for the elderly in old people’s homes.
The quality of the meals served is appalling. Despite this, Ayuso’s right-wing government has decided to extend the contract with the criticised caterer Plataforma Femar until 2024. Photos circulating on social media show spoiled food such as rotten cauliflower, spoiled eggs and meat that has expired.
“The food is rubbish and there is not enough of it”
The caterer in question provides meals for around 20 supervised youth centres and 22 retirement homes in the region. This includes the Francisco de Vitoria residence in Alcalá de Henares. Mercedes Huertas of the organisation Verdad y Justicia, which defends the rights of the nearly 20,000 people who have died in old people’s homes during the pandemic, is adamant: “The food is rubbish and there is not enough of it.”
Photos obtained by Infobae España show unsavoury meals such as chicken leg broth, eggs in black sauce and fish with bones for people who have difficulty swallowing. According to Huertas, the meals are “low in protein and poorly prepared… They don’t get enough to eat due to a lack of staff and, therefore, this is compensated with protein shakes.”
Despite the criticism, Ayuso has decided to extend the contract with the company in question until early 2024. Alodia Pérez, Head of Social Policy at Más Madrid, sharply criticises this decision: “It is outrageous that the contract with a company known for providing poor quality food and unsuitable for the elderly has been extended.”
Worrisome weight loss among the elderly
The region’s main opposition party claims that “Ayuso has ignored all complaints about malnutrition and overlooked the worrying weight loss of the elderly.”
The COVID-19 pandemic claimed more victims in Madrid than elsewhere
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Madrid’s retirement homes have been the subject of research. Many studies suggest that there were more deaths in the capital due to the large number of private institutions in the region.
In addition, the families of the victims continue to demand that both Isabel Díaz Ayuso and the Minister of Health appear in court to explain the protocols that led to the elders in the worst condition not being transferred to hospitals. This policy is associated with at least 8,000 deaths.