Why Spanish health workers are staging protests outside hospitals

Why Spanish health workers are staging protests outside hospitals
Healthcare workers hold a banner reading "Healthcare workers needed" during a protest calling for a reinforced healthcare system outside the Gregorio Maranon hospital in Madrid. Photos: AFP
Spanish health workers on the front line of the fight against coronavirus gathered on Monday outside hospitals in the Madrid region to rally against shortages of protective equipment.

Nurses, doctors and other workers protested in their uniforms, some in scrubs, under the slogan “health workers essential”.   

They stood silently for two minutes at the gates of several institutions in and around the capital, holding placards and homemade signs that read “we are fighting without weapons”, “who cares for the carers” and “public healthcare can't be sold”.   

The goal is for people to become aware of “the precariousness of our jobs”, said Silvia Garcia, an intensive care unit nurse who joined hundreds of others outside the Gregorio Maranon hospital.

“COVID-19 only intensified a situation that we were experiencing before,” she told AFP.

“We need to have the means to care,” said Victor Aparicio, another intensive care nurse at the same hospital.   

“We need to guarantee that we can rest and protect ourselves so that we can carry out our work in the best possible conditions.”    

Caregivers say they are exhausted and complain both about staff shortages and a lack of protective equipment to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.    

One-third of all Spain's cases and deaths have been recorded in the capital, where the health system was on the verge of breaking down at the height of the crisis.

The protesters want the Madrid region to keep on the extra 10,000 staff hired to deal with the pandemic.

Officials have only offered guarantees that they will be kept on until the end of the year.

READ ALSO: Spain revises its coronavirus death toll by nearly 2,000 cases

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