Low levels of social protection.
As Spanish citizens we not only too well
the social reality of our country. There are even EU studies which
show that Spain is towards the bottom of the list of European countries
as far as welfare is concerned: health, education and family aid,
to mention a few, are lacking in funds. We are also low down on
the list in other areas such as development in our economy: I+D
and the use of internet are two example.
Due to lack of time to prepare and translate this
web, we have not been able to present all the texts in English.
You will find, however, a summary of some of the flagrant cases
of the low level of social protection in Spain. We include this
information to show how the subsidizing of bull fighting can only
be seen to be an immoral and anti-democratic use of public money.
Once again, if you need any extra information or an explanation
of any of the studies we have included, please do not hesitate to
get in touch.
The social groups most at risk
20% of children in Spain, 1.8 million in total, live below the level
of poverty. These figures place Spain towards the end of the list
of European countries. The main factors which contribute to this
situation is the lack of job stability and the lack of financial
help from the state. Children are at risk in different ways. Social
exclusion begins with the difficulty to access fundamental rights
such as education, heath care, and welfare. The level of social
exclusion in children is closely related to the efficiency of social
and economic policies in the member states and the degree of justice,
equity and equality that the state provides or, on the contrary,
to which the population is denied. This sector of the population
requires more financial aid.
2. The Poor
Brussels finds that as a consequence of the low level of social
protection in Spain, and Spain is one of the EU countries with the
lowest, 19.4% of Spaniards are poor. Spain is considered to be the
country with the highest percentage of poverty in Europe, with one
in four children living below the level of poverty. These figures
cry out for more socil protection in the form of financial aid.
3. The Homeless
In Spain, a minimum of 30,000 people have no home to live in and
the number of women and young people in this situation is growing.
Among the causes is the lack of social protection. The NGOs are
unanimous: they decry the limited social expenditure to finance
the development of insertion strategies. These NGOs request more
financial aid to deal with the complex situation.
Source: Fundación EROSKI
4. The Mentally Ill
The Social and Health Services that deal with people with mental
health problems are few and far between. A serious lack of infrastructures
to deal with immediate problems has been detected: infrastructures
such as mental hospitals, day centres, protected flats, occupational
centres and so on. Not enough public money is spend in this area.
This sector requests that the recognition that is granted to persons
with mental health problems be converted into practicalities. The
social-health system should at least be able to provide these things:
housing, disability allowance, and financial aid to family carers
and to employ health carers. Those involved request an increase
in the funds destined to this sector.
Source: Asociación Juristas de la Salud
5. People with disabilities and
In Spain there are three and a half million people with some kind
of disability which is 9% of the population. If you add the families,
this number increases to almost eight million which is a large proportion
of the population. The most common complaint issued by the different
associations of people with disabilities is that of lack or scarcity
of funds. Communication barriers which the deaf and the blind suffer
can impede their development at school or their ability to find
employment. This sector requests better teaching, better transport
and the suppression of architectural barriers.
Source: Comité Español de Representantes de Minusválidos
6. Young people wanting to live
independently of their parents
If a young person wishes to live independently, he or she must pay
55.2% of his or her salary. Not unexpectedly, these young people
demand policies from the administration which will make it possible
for them to become independent. Public funds are needed for such
policies and for providing sufficient social housing.
Source: Consejo de la Juventud de España
7. Elderly people
Spain is the fourth country in the list of EU states with the oldest
population. Spain’s position is the worst: it has one of the
oldest populations and it spends less than anyone else on the elderly.
Only 9.43% of elderly people in Spain receive some sort of social
aid. One in five old people live in high rise buildings without
lifts and only 21% live in accessible dwellings; less than half
of their house have central heating. Eurostat claims that 22.2%
of old people in Spain live below the poverty level. This sector
needs public spending as they prefer to live at home with members
of the family but these families, in turn, need the support of the
Source: Instituto de Mayores y Servicios Sociales (IMSERSO)
Of the 217 public hospitals in Spain with more than
100 beds, in 139 (64% of the total) have no provision for the specialized
geriatric care necessary in the case of serious illness. This sector
requests more public spending in this area.
Source: Sociedad Española de Geriatría y Gerontología
Spain is still the country which provides least help for families.
The aid is so restricted (conditioned by family income) that 89%
of the families with children under 18 have no right to any kind
of aid. If a family had a brut income of 30.000 € a year, they
would need to have 10 children before they were qualified to state
aid. Family collectives ask the administration for more investment.
Source: Instituto de Política Familar
Some real modern day cases (2007)
1. - Therapeutic Needs in the rehabilitation
of people who develop cerebral damage
The Spanish Federation of Brain Damage (FEDACE)
has decried the lack of assistance in Spain for rehabilitation of
patients with this type of problem. Apparently the concept of a
specific network of health and social resources to deal in an integral
way with people who develop brain damage has been around for a long
time but never achieved. The director of FEDACE also remarked that
within the National Health System the number of specialized hospital
units capable of dealing with the specific needs of these patients,
are insufficient. In Spain there is not one specific rehabilitation
centre for people with brain damage who need a hospital stay of
over 12 months after and operation. It is important to mention that
this is something urgently needed in Spain and that it affects thousands
of people who have no specific social or health care provided after
an operation where all the stages of rehabilitation must be carried
out. What happens is that after the operation, there are a few months
of rehabilitation and then there should follow another long period
of rehabilitation. The lack of public spending is very apparent
in this sector.
Source: Federación Española de Daño Cerebral
2. Spanish Hospitals offer half
of the hospital beds that the UN recommend.
The “Asociación Galega para la Defensa de Sanidad Pública”
claims that there are not enough bed in both private and public
Spanish hospitals; this number is set by a UN recommendation. The
lack of beds is the main cause of long waits in the casualty departments
of the hospitals. There are neither enough beds for those who go
to the Casualty Department nor for those who need and operation.
The Association blames cuts in public spending.
Source: “Asociación Galega para la Defensa de Sanidad
3. Spanish hospitals lack means
to face a heat wave.
An investigation reveals that Hospitals and Geriatric Units lack
the means to face a heat wave as serious as the one in 2003. The
study, with data which is valid for the whole of Spain, concludes
that prevention plans are not sufficient to react in the case of
a heat wave. The study carried out at the Hospital Clinic, Barcelona,
repeats the claim that the number of deaths due to the heat wave
that was published at the time was false and that the number was
in fact 5,440.
Source: Emergency Services of the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona.
Published in the “Revista Medicina Clínica”
More information: We have been unable to translate
all the documents in time for presentation of the web site. At the
moment we only have the complete transcriptions in Spanish. If you
would like any article or report translated into your language,
please get in touch with us and we will have it translated as soon