In recent months, citizen demonstrations have exposed the dismal situation felt, for a number of years now, in the rooms of hospitals and medical centres across the Spanish State: public healthcare is in danger. Its clear demise, resulting from the progressive neglect of the country’s public authorities since the economic crisis in 2008, has intensified since 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic, ultimately damaging the pillars of a public model recognised the world over.
At the present time, the State’s healthcare expenditure is below the European Union average, with Madrid the Spanish Autonomous Community with the lowest health investment per capita. A lack of resources and the absence of public management in line with the needs and challenges of a decent and universal healthcare system is combined with the physical, mental and emotional exhaustion of healthcare professionals — a strain that inevitably results in the exodus of healthcare staff, poor healthcare and never-ending waiting lists.
In the face of this situation, Situated Voices 27. Healthcare Should Be Protected, Not Sold and Neglected looks to open a dialogue around issues which jeopardise a universal human right that should be guaranteed by the State and safeguarded for future generations. How can we heal a system under threat? How can we care for those who look after our health? How can we avoid healthcare exclusion? How can we defend the public system before the privatisation of life? These and other questions are addressed in this encounter by representatives from primary healthcare, community activism and the citizen defence of healthcare.
Rosa Bajo is a spokesperson for the right to access health and is an instructor of basic notions of care for communities excluded from the healthcare system. She has worked as a GP in primary healthcare and supports a non-excluding National Healthcare System which tends to everyone. Her most recent work has been developed in the Lavapiés Medical Centre, and currently she is part of Red Interlavapiés and Senda de Cuidados.
Maribel Giráldez has been a GP for the past fifteen years in the Nuestra Señora de Fátima Medical Centre in the Carabanchel neighbourhood of Madrid and also belongs to the Health Council from the same district. She is currently a spokesperson for the Platform of Madrid Medical Centres, a movement of primary healthcare workers whose main goal is to protect a public, universal and quality healthcare model; that is, a system that advocates a primary care system over the current hospitalocentric model.
Laura López Casado is an activist in the feminist movement and a member of different feminist spaces and assemblies located in the Lavapiés neighbourhood of Madrid, where she lives. Moreover, she is a PhD candidate at the University of Lisbon, where she is writing her thesis on the independent publications of the feminist movement from an Iberian Studies perspective.
Carmen Rodríguez Fernández has worked as a primary healthcare nurse throughout her professional career and has been the director of the Villa de Vallecas Medical Centre for the past twelve years. She also participates in the Ethical Assistance Committee of the Sureste Assistance Board and is part of the Guarantee and Evaluation Committee for applying assistance in dying in the Community of Madrid, established to put into practice the Euthanasia Law. She currently participates in the Red Solidaria de Acogida.