Madrid: huge protest for better healthcare system

More than 250,000 people demonstrated in Madrid for improvements to the healthcare system on the weekend. Another mass demonstration had already taken place in November. The demonstrators accuse the conservative regional government led by Isabel Díaz Ayuso of failing to address staff and equipment shortages in the capital's public healthcare system - a problem the implications of which go far beyond Madrid, as a glance at Europe's press shows.

Open/close all quotes (ES) /

A test lab for privatisation says the whole of Spain should demonstrate:

“Imagine if Isabel Díaz Ayuso wins the regional elections. ... She would feel legitimised to accelerate the dismantling and privatisation. ... If this happens, it's not just the residents of Madrid who will have a problem. ... Madrid remains the test lab for privatisation policies, both in education and health. ... Ayuso is not alone. ... She has the enormous power of those who want to do business with our health on her side. ... Perhaps the mobilisations need to go beyond the region, because we could all end up getting wet in Ayuso's storm. In this year of multiple elections, the future of public healthcare is at stake.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

Growing discontent

La Vanguardia looks to the Spanish regional and municipal elections due to take place in May:

“The increase in the number of demonstrators can be interpreted in two ways. The first interpretation is that the administration has done too little to alleviate the problem. The second is that the people's discontent is growing. With just three months to go before the regional and local elections in May, all this suggests that this discontent will make itself felt at the polls. ... In addition to doctors and nurses, many of the demonstrators were residents who are angry about a public health system that is becoming increasingly inadequate and is being criminally neglected by the authorities.”

Les Echos (FR) /

Involve nurses in the reform debate

The voice of nurses and caregivers is sorely missing from the debates about the French public healthcare system, three nurses point out in Les Echos:

“Three years after the first shocks of the Covid crisis, it is astounding that indispensable health professionals are hardly being given a voice on the subject of healthcare reform. ... Doctors, department heads, hospital directors and former health ministers are in all the media, sharing their diagnoses on the state of the healthcare system and proposing remedies. By contrast, the voice of the nurses is absent from the debates. ... But without their statements, essential aspects are missing in the media.”

Le Temps (CH) /

Promote innovation from the private sector

The decisive impetus for better healthcare will not come from the state, financial experts Olivier de Berranger and Louis Porrini explain in Le Temps:

“The availability of caregivers, healthcare infrastructure and medicines is one of the major challenges in access to healthcare. It is a global challenge for which innovative companies are developing new pioneering solutions, including software which can ease the administrative tasks of caregivers. ... The Covid crisis has only reinforced the need to transform the sector. Promoting the enormous innovative power of companies opens up promising prospects in this regard.”