Almost 4,000 operations canceled due to doctors’ strike at Madrid hospitals

Regional premier González hints he might go back on plans to privatize the running of six public hospitals

Nearly 4,000 surgeries have been canceled at Madrid’s public hospitals in the first seven days of strike action by health workers, the regional health commissioner Javier Fernández-Lasquetty told TVE state television on Friday. The regional official said the cancellations only affected programmed procedures, and that emergency operations went ahead without any delays.

The Madrid health department estimates adhesion to the strike among health professionals at 20 percent, while the doctors’ association which called for the stoppage puts that figure at 70 percent.

“Evidently there are delays. Anything that is not urgent or serious is getting backed up,” said Belén Padilla, a doctor at the infectious disease department of Gregorio Marañón Hospital.

Fernández-Lasquetty complained that health organizations do not wish to negotiate, but health professionals contend that the exact opposite is true, and that the commissioner allowed the stoppage to go into a second week before agreeing to talks. Both Fernández-Lasquetty and regional premier Ignacio González have suggested they might go back on plans to privatize the running of six public hospitals and 27 health centers, if unions and workers can come up with a realistic alternative that will reduce spending by 533 million euros.

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