MADRID – On Sunday, tens of thousands of people took to the streets to save primary care in Spain and demand action from the government. For years, primary care in Spain has been under pressure. And, moreover, health centres have been forced to close due to significant shortages.
The aim of the demonstrations is that the Spanish government invests more in primary health care. In concrete terms, more needs to be done to continue to provide quality care in health centres. And, furthermore, investment is needed to attract doctors and other staff in this sector.
“Save primary care in Spain”
In total, 114 organisations, including the larger trade unions such as the CCOO, UGT, and some medical unions and social institutions, were part of the ‘Save primary care’ platform. On Sunday, massive attention was drawn to the problem because otherwise ‘public health will collapse’, the protesters claimed.
The demonstrations started en masse in Madrid where about 15,000 people took to the streets. In Zaragoza, Valencia, and other cities, people also protested to save primary care in Spain. The industry people are tired of empty promises to improve primary health care and demand urgent and immediate action for the recovery of the sector.
SOS message from primary care Spain
For years, experts have reported that primary care in Spain is deteriorating. Consequently, at the beginning of November, primary care issued an SOS message. This was to warn the sector that this deterioration is promoting private insurance. And, ultimately jeopardising universal accessibility to the public health system.
For years there has been continuous austerity and a large financing gap. This then leads to serious staff shortages and a significant lack of investment in new health centres. Moreover, the public funds that exist must be better managed, according to the chairman of the CCOO union. In October, a collective of doctors from Malaga reported that too little of the total funding of health care is going to primary care.
Close health centres across Spain
For example, health centres have been closed in various parts of the country. Meanwhile, other centres have shortened their opening hours because there are simply too few staff. Furthermore, this is not only the case in the Spanish countryside, but also in Madrid, where primary care has deteriorated over the past ten years. Especially since the pandemic, the holes in Spain’s health system have come to light, the president of the UGT union said.