Around 285 doctors in the Madrid region will refuse to observe new regulations due to be introduced by the government that will oblige them to stop treating immigrants who do not have their residency papers in order. According to figures compiled by the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine (Semfyc), 1,303 doctors in total across the country have declared themselves conscientious objectors to the cutback plan.
Semfyc says that a total of 181 doctors are planning to object to the measures in Catalonia, with 98 in Andalusia, 96 in Galicia, 93 in Aragón and 83 in both Valencia and the Balearic Islands.
Doctors from Semfyc, which counts on 20,000 members in Spain, say that the new rules, which come into force on September 1 and will leave around 150,000 people without free healthcare, according to the calculations of EL PAÍS, contravene their ethical code.
On Wednesday the NGO Médicos del Mundo released a video as part of a campaign against the measure. In it, a number of health professionals hold up their hand, and swear to "leave my ethics to one side in times of crisis," and to "not use equipment belonging to the state to diagnose immigrants without papers."
The health cutbacks, according to Álvaro González, the president of Médicos del Mundo, "are based on the myth that immigrants come here for treatment, when they actually come here looking for work."