Striking health professionals call for improvements in public services
Doctors, nurses and other staff say medical centers are overwhelmed and want a reversal of cuts
Health professionals are striking in Barcelona on Wednesday to demand improvements in public services.
The strike has been called for by various different unions for Wednesday and Thursday, January 25-26.
Thousands have gathered in Plaça Sant Jaume, calling for reversing the cuts seen over the past decade. Another demonstration has gathered around 9,300 doctors in front of the Sants train station, according to local police Guàrdia Urbana.
Doctors are calling for better working conditions, including more staff to be hired, as they say they are overworked and see up to 70 patients per day, a situation they describe as "extreme."
Many medical professionals also say the amount of work they undergo is forcing them to ask for sick leave, citing burnout.
Doctors of Catalonia also want to see pay rises for the field, as they say in Spain, wages for doctors are among the lowest in Europe.
Some union representatives say that this difference in salary is pushing many health professionals to move abroad.
Three other partial strikes are scheduled for next week, February 1-3.
The strike called by unions Doctors of Catalonia and CSC was followed by 17.5% of doctors and 0.8% of the rest of staff, as reported by the Department of Health counting 47% of the health centers, regarding morning figures.
In Primary Care Centers (CAPs), 33.5% of the doctors are taking part in the protest as well as 3.4% of the other staff.
However, a figure provided by the Doctors of Catalonia union themselves raises the following of the strike to 75%.
Later in the evening, Salut reported that 23% of doctors and healthcare workers went on strike in the afternoon.