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Spain makes key healthcare appointments

Officials appointed by Mariano Rajoy's People's Party include new general secretary of health Pilar Farjas Abbey

The Spanish government has made five appointments to its ministry of health, social services and equality, six weeks after coming to power.

The appointments made by Mariano Rajoy's ruling People's Party include new general secretary of health Pilar Farjas Abbey, Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla as secretary of state for social services and equality and María Jesús Fraile Fabra as undersecretary of the ministry.

Abbey has a degree in medicine and surgery and was minister of health of the government of autonomous community of Galicia in northwest Spain, while Bonilla has been alderman of the city of Malaga, and is national coordinator of Regional Policy and Local People's Party.

Maria Teresa Bernedo Arzak will serve as cabinet minister director, while Blanca Hernandez Oliver is the new delegate of the government for gender violence.

Fabra has previously been undersecretary of the ministry of environment; Oliver has acted as consultant to the joint commission on women's rights and equal opportunities and Bernedo was previously director of cabinet in the ministry of environment.

Minister of health, social services and equality Ana Mato said the role of the new team would be to "advance the Spanish health system, ensuring the principles of universality of the right to health protection of the Spanish equity in access to homogeneous portfolio of services in Spain, quality in the services provided and taking into account excellence".

Mato controls a department that has been reduced by nearly 25 per cent due to austerity measures. Spain's healthcare system has been hit hard by the recession and in August passed regulation to enforce the prescribing and dispensing of generic drugs over branded products.

In October, it was revealed that Spanish authorities were in talks with Spainish trade body Farmaindustria to defer the payment of €5.4bn owed by the country's regional governments to Farmaindustria member companies.

10th January 2012

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