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Catalonia Suspend Healthcare Payments

Sun 2th Oct 2011

Although Catalonia is the richest region in Spain, it also one of the most indebted, and this week the regional government announced a further spending cuts, going as far as suspending payments to care homes and mental clinics due to a lack of funds.

Despite Politicians insisting that the measure is only temporary, and that everything will be back on track by the end of the year, health workers have warned that it will be the most vulnerable members of society who are in most need of the region's care and support that will suffer.

"These measures affect care centres for the elderly, the disabled, drug addicts and mental health patients," said Toni Codina, director of a federation of welfare providers in Catalonia.

"We don't understand how the Catalan government, at a time of funding difficulties, can have concentrated these measures on one of the most vulnerable sectors in Catalan society."

The region looks set to end the year with more than double the level set for regional deficit by central Government, set at 1.3% of GDP, even after taking into account the estimated 10% cut in spending on public health services.

A round of hospital closures earlier in the year caused a wobble in investor confidence which prompted Fitch's credit ratings agency to downgrade the region's rating from A to A-minus last month.

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