THE CHAIRMAN of the private HM Hospitales healthcare group, the third-largest in Spain, has caused controversy in the sector after claiming that the public system ‘has been left broken since the [coronavirus] pandemic’.
Juan Abarca Cidon, who has degrees in medicine, surgery and law, made the comments in an interview with Spanish daily ABC, in which he also claimed that Spain’s national healthcare was ‘ever further away’ from the core values it should represent: being accessible, universal and equitable.
Abarca is also the president of the IDIS foundation, which works to promote the improvement of the health of citizens and ‘defend the entire Spanish healthcare system’.
Sources from the foundation told online daily El Plural that they disapproved of Abarca’s comments, on the basis that they do not contribute to the ‘calm debate that the foundation should encourage’.
The comments were also badly taken by the political sphere. In Madrid, for example, which is currently suffering a series of strikes in the public healthcare sector due to poor pay and conditions, Abarca’s words were received with surprise by the regional president Isabel Diaz Ayuso and healthcare chief Enrique Ruiz Escudero.
According to El Plural, other regions reacted similarly given that Abarca has such clear interests in the private healthcare sector.