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Virus Surge Tests Limits Of Primary Health Care In Europe

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People queue outside a local health center in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. An unprecedented number of coronavirus infections is once again exposing the underfunding and shortcomings of public health care systems, even in developed parts of Europe. Spain is especially feeling the crunch. (AP Photo/Paul White)

(AP) — An unprecedented number of coronavirus infections is once again exposing the underfunding and shortcomings of public health care systems, even in developed parts of Europe. Spain is especially feeling the crunch.

Only a few weeks ago, officials in Spain thought the country was in relatively good shape because more than 80% of the target population was fully vaccinated. Now, the mounting workload has prompted doctors and nurses to cancel regular checkups for illnesses other than COVID-19 and postpone visits to vulnerable people at home.

Officials say general practitioners and health care professionals on the front line of response are bearing the brunt of the increased workload, with some people being left to care for themselves.

 

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