More than 130,000 hospital workers protest in Berlin
The doctors, nurses and other hospital workers are against plans to reduce funding.
Berlin -- Doctors, nurses and other hospital workers demonstrated in Berlin Thursday against government plans to reduce funding for Germany's dense network of local hospitals.
Police said 130,000 people took part in the rally at the landmark Brandenburg Gate, one of the biggest protests ever in Germany about health policy. Germany has 2,100 hospitals for 80 million people.
Hospitals belonging to municipalities and the churches have resented the expansion of clinics run by private companies, charging that the newcomers aim for efficiency, not public service. Many hospitals paid for their staff to attend the rally.
Speakers for the "Save the Hospitals Campaign" demanded that Chancellor Angela Merkel's government alters a government policy of reducing the number of available hospital beds.
A spokesman for German health insurers, Johann-Magnus von Stackelberg, rejected the campaign, saying, "Equating fewer hospitals with poorer health care is wrong." He said German hospitals did not need more funding to improve, but more competition.