A ceremony took place last Friday to mark the start of construction on the new district hospital in Estepona.
Although building work started on 7 June, the event was an opportunity for the Junta de Andalucía and the local town hall to get together and praise their recent cooperation to speed up the start of the construction of the long-awaited facility.
Placing a metal cylinder into the ground, a modern equivalent of laying the first stone, were mayor of Estepona, José María García Urbano, and minster for Health in the Junta de Andalucía regional government, Marina Álvarez.
Under the deal reached between the two administrations, Estepona town hall will advance the fifteen million euros needed to build the district hospital and the Junta’s health service will equip and run it.
The Estepona area has been waiting for many years for better access to hospital services and town leaders decided not to wait any longer for the Junta, that is responsible for public health facilities, to find the funding to start the construction.
Both García Urbano and Álvarez held up the partnership as an example of how different administrations, of different political parties, can work together to improve local services.
Álvarez praised the town hall’s ability to respond to the concerns of the local population, while García Urbano highlighted that the new building will cover 90 percent of the town’s healthcare needs.
Completion in 18 months
The mayor went on to say that the town hall will complete its side of the deal in 18 months to get the infrastructure finished and urged the Junta to be ready to operate the hospital on time. The Estepona mayor said: “This hospital has been an aspiration in the town for many years, and its a moment to celebrate.”
The new hospital is part of the plan by the Junta’s public health service to have a network of smaller district hospitals, known as CHAREs, across Andalucía to provide more localised services and take pressure off larger hospitals. The nearest main hospital is currently in Marbella and locals have long felt that lives have been lost in the time it takes critically ill patients to travel that far from Estepona. The hospital will also cover the Casares and Manilva districts.
Recently CHARE hospitals have been opened in Malaga province in the Guadalhorce valley and Ronda.