Residents and tourists in La Cala de Mijas will be getting 24-hour cover at the local health centre at last, as well as a seven-day emergency ambulance service.
The announcement comes after years of campaigning by locals. Currently once the daytime doctors' surgeries end, patients have to travel to Las Lagunas health centre, some 10 kilometres away, for urgent treatment. In an emergency, ambulances also have to travel out from Las Lagunas.
Residents' groups took their campaign for round-the-clock cover to the Andalusian regional parliament and had gathered a petition with thousands of signatures.
Despite the good news, the announcement generated political controversy. The news wasn't released by the PSOE-party-controlled Junta de Andalucía health department, possibly due to restrictions on announcements ahead of regional elections, but by the leader of the PSOE group on Mijas council, Josele González. The regional health service subsequently confirmed the councillor's Facebook post but couldn't say when the service would be ready.
"The ambulance has to be put out to tender and then plans drawn up for running the emergency department," sources at the Junta said.
Despite the PSOE announcement, opposition politicians have criticised the move. Esperanza Oña of the PP claimed that it was a "deceitful electoral move" and questioning whether the promise would be kept once the regional elections were over.