Madrid/Palma.—Austerity cuts in Spain could lead to the effective dismantling of large parts of its healthcare system and significantly damage the health of the population, according to a study published yesterday.

Researchers who analysed the situation warned that if nothing was done to reverse the trend, Spain risked spiralling health problems and could see increases in infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and the virus that causes AIDS.

As part of the analysis, interviews were conducted with 34 doctors and nurses across Catalonia in northern Spain. Many reported feeling “shocked”, “numbed” and “disillusioned” about the cuts, and some expressed fears that “the cuts are going to kill people”, the researchers said. “For five years, policies to address the financial crisis have focused almost entirely on economic indicators,” said Martin McKee, professor of European Public Health, at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), who co-led the study. “Our paper sheds light on the burden of human suffering that has followed from these policies.”