Ambulances parked at the Arroyo de la Miel health centre in Benalmádena. L. Cádiz
Only one ambulance and medical team for a population of 80,000 in Benalmádena, health workers complain

Only one ambulance and medical team for a population of 80,000 in Benalmádena, health workers complain

Despite the contract signed by the SAS to increase the service during the night, the municipality remains the same as it was years ago, but with a considerable increase in population

Lorena Cádiz

Friday, 14 June 2024, 13:34

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The primary care emergency service (SUAP) in Benalmádena, where more than 76,000 people live according to the latest census published by the INE and where in summer, as in any other coastal town, the population multiplies, should have two ambulances in operation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from 1 June. This is stated in the tender for the health transport service issued by the Andalusian health service (SAS) and awarded to the company SSG, which began to provide this service in the province of Malaga on the first day of this month.

Until now, the Benalmádena SUAP, which is based at the Arroyo de la Miel health centre, had one ambulance with driver, nurse and doctor 24 hours a day, and another which operated with a medical team 12 hours a day, while the other 12 hours were limited to patient transport. When the service was re-tendered, the need to extend it was understood, but more than ten days have passed since the date set for the change and every day, when ten o'clock at night arrives, Benalmádena is left with only one ambulance to cover the entire population of the municipality.

This situation has prompted all the workers who currently make up this service in Benalmádena to send this newspaper a joint complaint in which, among other issues, they accuse the SAS and specifically the Costa del Sol health district of "evading a fundamental right" for the population of this municipality. "It is unfair", they insist and claim that the "trump card" being used by those responsible for the health district is that there are no doctors available for a new contract that would allow them to implement the service committed to and agreed in the contract with the company.

A "half-truth"

"The lack of doctors is a real problem, but it is a half-truth. It has been known for a long time that this new service was going to come into force and nothing has been done to anticipate the need for resources, it is something that could have been planned some time ago", the SUAP workers declared. They also criticise this situation at the beginning of the summer season, after being informed that "the health district has requested an extension of 45 days for the 24-hour ambulance to come into service, citing the lack of doctors". An extension that "we do not know if, once this period has passed, it can continue to be extended, nor for how long".

The Costa district delegate for union Comisiones Obreras, Raúl Morillas, confirmed that they have been working on this tender for a long time and that this situation is something that could have been foreseen. He also claimed that, in the event that there are no doctors, there are other formulas to be considered, such as training for nurses to replace the doctor, or that doctors from the health centre can take turns in the ambulance. "We have offered these possibilities to the health district, but they have rejected them," he said.

The sources consulted at the health delegation of the Andalusian government said, "The ambulance service of the SUAP Arroyo de la Miel remains as it was, no resource has been eliminated. Work is being done on the new service for the summer, taking into account the needs of the population."

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