Castilla-La Mancha does U-turn on decision to close 24-hour medical centers

PP regional government forced to keep services open following court ruling

Mayors and councilors from municipalities in Castilla la Mancha protest against the closure of 24-hour medical centers earlier this year.
Mayors and councilors from municipalities in Castilla la Mancha protest against the closure of 24-hour medical centers earlier this year.ULY MARTÍN (EL PAÍS)

Following a court order and scores of protests, mainly by residents in mountain communities, the Popular Party (PP) government of Castilla-La Mancha scrapped a budget-cutting plan to do away with 24-hour emergency medical services in some areas.

A provincial judge in Castilla-La Mancha ruled that canceling the services would put rural municipalities in danger.

The government of PP regional premier María Dolores de Cospedal approved curtailing the 24-hour medical services earlier this year as part of a string of budget-axing measures. However, residents in outlying areas complained that the cutback in services, as well as the closing of nearly two dozen 24-hour emergency centers, would force them to drive kilometers to seek medical attention in the middle of the night.

The judge in his ruling sided with the residents, saying that distance was an important factor in keeping the centers opened.

De Cospedal’s decision sparked massive protests, mostly by rural residents in the region. She also lost several councilors from her party who resigned in protest.

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