Despite massive opposition, the Spanish government recently put the wheels in motion and pushed on with their plans to privatise a significant part of the national healthcare system.
The plan is to privatise around six hospitals, 10% of 27 primary care centres, as well as a number of auxiliary services within the Madrid region. With around 70% of Spaniards opposing any kind of privatisation of their health care system, it's easy to understand why thousands took to the streets of the capital recently in order to voice their disapproval.
In the year 2000, the Spanish healthcare system was rated as #7 in the world by the World Health Organisation and many are rightly concerned that the effects of privatisation will have a major effect on the quality of the health care in Spain.
Why are they Looking to Privatise the Healthcare System?
Between 2004 and 2011 and at the height of the property boom, the authorities built 11 new hospitals in the Madrid region alone, only to work out that they were unaffordable.
In 2011 Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy took office and vowed to reduce the deficit and get the countries finances back on track.
In 2012, they successfully reduced health care spending by around 3 Billion Euro's with the aim being to reduce spending by a further 3.1 Billion Euros in 2013.
Around 50% of public spending in Madrid has been previously spent on the health system. It is the Prime Ministers target to reduce these figures by around 7%, although many believe that it's actually the European Commission who is pulling the Prime Ministers strings.
The Effects of Privatisation on the Spanish Health Service
It's widely believed that the privatisation will mean that private firms will put profits before service and lead to an overall deterioration in the quality of health care.
Another stark reality is that the changes will also lead to thousands of job losses. This in a country that already has the highest unemployment in Europe at around 27%.
With the Spanish health system rated #7 by the World Health Organisation, it is thought by many that the changes will eventually lead to the Spanish system joining the privatised U.S health system, currently ranked a lowly #37!
Alternative Healthcare Options
With all the up and coming changes planned for the summer of 2013, if you haven't recently done a review of your own personal arrangements, now would be the perfect time.
Unfortunately, with further cuts imminent, nobody can be sure just what lies ahead when it comes to the quality of treatment one may or may not receive.
At Health Plan Spain, we can offer you a wide range of private health insurance packages to fit your own personal requirements. With policies starting from as little as €13.00 Euros per month, we are confident that your healthcare needs will be met. You can be safe in the knowledge that in any eventuality, your quality of care will never be in any doubt. To view our current policies, click here.