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HEALTHCARE

Over 300 health chiefs hand in resignations over privatization

Center directors will step down when Madrid administration’s plans to outsource services take effect

Elena G. Sevillano

More than 320 public health center directors across the Madrid region formally handed in their resignations on Tuesday after agreeing last month to step down en masse in protest at the regional government’s plans to privatize some medical services. The resignations will take effect when the privatization process starts, according to the documents the doctors have signed.

The 322 directors, including head nurses and administrative chiefs, will keep their jobs in the public health sector but will give up their supervisory positions at facilities across the region.

At the same time, some 3,000 health professionals at 166 centers have also stated that they will give up their positions on special committees that oversee vaccines, prescriptions drugs and patient care.

In December some 8,000 medical workers across the region signed a document that was given to Popular Party (PP) regional premier Ignacio González, who announced plans to outsource the management of six hospitals, 27 health centers and other services as a way of cutting costs. According to a survey taken by the Association of Madrid Health Professionals, of the 7,950 signatures collected, only three said they supported González’s move and 14 failed to respond.

Health workers have staged numerous demonstrations and partial strikes to protest the González administration’s plans, which have been approved by the regional assembly as part of budget-cutting measures for this year.

The regional government has not specified exactly which, if any, of the across-the-board services, such as blood collection and health card administration, will be privatized.

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