The Andalusian Health Service (SAS) has put the works contract for the extension and refurbishment of the accident and emergency department at the Carlos Haya hospital out to tender.
The scheme, which affects the section of the hospital known as the B pavilion, was originally due to have been completed more than two years ago.
The central Malaga hospital is frequently criticised for being understaffed, given the number of patients it handles. This leads to an inadequate level of care, say complaints, as professionals do not have the right conditions to carry out their work to the highest standard.
The accident and emergency department is frequently overcrowded, increasing protests among patients, family members and workers.
A new timeline for the project has not been revealed, although the health service has said that work will be carried out in three phases to avoid disruptions to the service.
The project is expected to cost 2.5 million euros and the end result will be an emergency department cover 3,000 square metres, 500 more than the current facility.
The announcement comes after a report by the Asociación El Defensor del Paciente, the organisation that defends patients' interests, revealed that Carlos Haya is the fifth hospital in Spain with the most complaints and claims filed in 2017 with regard to emergency care and treatment.
This poor result, however, is an improvement on the previous year's when the Malaga hospital's emergency department received more complaints than any other in the country.
The lawyer who collaborates with the Defence of the Patient Association in Malaga, Francisco Damián Vázquez, told SUR that it is not good that a hospital like Carlos Haya is in a negative position in the ranking of emergency departments published by the association.
“It needs to solve the problems that keep recurring year after year,” said the lawyer, who highlighted the importance of both increasing the number of health professionals and building another hospital in the city of Malaga.
Official sources from the Carlos Haya Regional Hospital made it clear that they were not going to comment on nor respond to the report presented by the Defensor del Paciente association.
Ahead of Carlos Haya in this list of most-complained-about hospitals, are the emergency departments of La Paz (Madrid), Virgen del Rocío (Seville), Vall d'Hebron (Barcelona) and Son Espases (Mallorca).
Behind it, from tenth place up, are Virgen de la Salud (Toledo), La Fe (Valencia), the Álvaro Cunqueiro (Vigo), el Virgen Macarena (Seville) and Miguel Servet (Zaragoza).
The report also showed that in 2017 the number of reported cases of medical negligence grew slightly in Malaga province.
The association recorded 741 claims this year, compared to 730 in 2016, 641 in 2015, and 625 in 2014. “We have established that there has been an increase in complaints in the last four years,” highlighted Francisco Damián Vázquez.
The lawyer also said that the authorities are trying to reduce the amount of compensation that they will pay to patients who have suffered from medical negligence.