Spain Surgery Waiting Lists 'Longest on Record'
Waiting lists for surgery in crisis-hit Spain's public hospitals were the longest on record in 2012 as emergency spending cuts hit home, government figures show.
Updated figures for December 2012 published over the weekend by the health ministry showed the average waiting time for a non-urgent operation was 100 days, up from 76 days in June of that year.
It was by far the longest waiting time and the sharpest rise since records began in 2004, the data showed.
The figures showed that 571,395 people were waiting for operations in December 2012, up from 536,911 in June and from 459,885 in December 2011 when the current conservative government took power.
In December 2008, the first year of the financial crisis that has driven Spain into a double recession, the number of people waiting was 364,397 and the average waiting time 71 days.
The government last year imposed cuts to health budgets and staff numbers as part of a program to save tens of billions of euros which it says will strengthen Spain's public finances.