Hospitals to close entire floors over summer
By Shelley Liddell PUBLIC hospitals in Alicante province will be closing complete floors during the summer months. This cutback on bed availability will occur at a time when the province's population is vastly increased due to holiday visitors.
It has been happening every year. The Valencia Socialist party used to complain bitterly about the cuts when the Partido Popular implemented them, but now the Socialists are ruling regional government, they have done nothing to eradicate the cuts.
Alicante General Hospital will make the most cuts, and will lose 129 beds in July and 149 in August. The main departments affected by less beds are digestive, neonatal, traumatology and surgery.
This hospital still has a complete floor with 30 beds closed, which is only ever re-opened when the hospital has reached full capacity.
The UGT union warns that whole surgical patient floors are being closed, yet the operating theatres will continue to function, meaning that other floors will be overworked taking in surgical patients.
The cause of the cuts has to do with specialist doctors taking their annual holidays, and substitutes are not being taken on. This produces a backlog of patients waiting to be operated on.
A spokesman for the Comis- iones Obreras union said that there are now 10,000 patients waiting to see a specialist and another 5,000 waiting to be operated on.
San Juan Hospital will lose the use of 36 beds during July, plus three intensive care beds, and then an extra 24 beds in August.
Elche General Hospital will also have less beds. Half the fourth floor with 54 beds will be closed, and half (12) of those in the short-term stay section. Work will be carried out to modernise the part of the fourth floor that is closed.
Vinalopó Hospital will carry on as normal.
Villajoyosa's Marina Baixa Hospital will close a complete floor with 34 beds for the whole of the summer.
Hospital management have said they will take advantage of the closure to replace pipes.
The unions warn that the loss of beds in this hospital could prove chaotic, and that it is not the best time of year to be doing pipe replacements.
In the rest of the province, Alcoy will lose 12 beds for the summer, Elda will lose 30 in July and August and 35 in September, and they also will be doing renovation work on the internal medicine and paediatric floors.
Orihuela will only close 30 beds during August.
The total loss of beds in the province comes to 2,800, at a time when many health centres will only open until 15.00.
Medical workers are staging a protest today, Friday, at 18.30 at Alicante’s Campoamor health centre in Plaza America.