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The SiMAP union, which represents public sector doctors throughout Spain, has bemoaned the toll that expat communities are exacting on health services in regions such as Alicante.
According to the Telegraph, figures produced by the group suggest that in the region, which has a large expat community, non-Spanish EU nationals account for between 15 and 20 per cent of all hospital admissions.
However, the union was quick to clarify that it is not foreign residents who pay their taxes who are putting a drain on resources, but rather it is those "freeloading" by requesting emergency treatment using a European Health Insurance Card.
The issue has long been prominent on the political agenda at regional level, but the paper reports that until now the medical profession on the whole has maintained a neutral stance in the debate.
Spanish regional authorities operate with autonomy in regards to the provision of healthcare, and the latest authority to exercise this freedom is Valencia, which recently rescinded access to free healthcare for expats taking early retirement in the region.
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