Illegal immigrants in Spain will once again be able to get free primary healthcare at doctors’ surgeries, the government said on Tuesday, doing a U-turn on an unpopular policy in a busy election year.

The government withdrew the right to general healthcare for tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in 2012 as part of a program of spending cuts.

But the policy was highly criticized by doctors, refugee activists and opposition parties, and, since the ban excluded emergency treatment, has led to pressure on emergency wards.

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