MADRID (AP) — More than 300 directors of some 140 health centers in Madrid resigned from their posts Tuesday to protest plans to partly privatize the region's public health service.

The regional government of the Spanish capital plans to outsource the management of six of 20 large public hospitals in its territory and 27 of a total of 270 health centers. It argues it must do so to fix the region's finances and secure health services.

On Monday, thousands of medical workers marched through Madrid to protest the plans and other budget cuts.

Health care and education are currently administered by Spain's 17 semi-autonomous regions rather than the central government. Most of the regions, however, are struggling financially with high debt and an economic recession. Hit badly by a real estate crash in 2008, the national unemployment rate has soared above 26 percent.

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