"If I don't catch the 11.30am bus I have to wait here until five o'clock or spend 20 euros on a taxi. I'm a pensioner and I can't spend that kind of money. We have four buses a day, every two or three hours at best," says Julio Pinilla, a patient at Estepona’s hospital.
At a press conference on Sunday morning, the town’s socialist group spokesperson, Emma Molina, accused the president of the Junta, Juanma Moreno, of "playing with the health of the people of Estepona".
According to the current timetables of the Avanza bus company, there are only three buses a day leaving Estepona for the hospital (at 6.30am, 9.05am and 3.30pm). For the return journey, the timetables are also limited (11.45am, 2.45pm and 11.05pm). This means that someone arriving at the hospital at 3.30pm would have to wait until 11.05pm to catch a bus back to the town, or pay for a taxi, for which a one-way journey costs approximately 10 euros.
The socialists also argued that emergencies are sent to another hospital as the Hospital Alta Resolución has no capacity to deal with them. "The commitment made four years ago to this town has not been fulfilled," Molina denounced. "This is not a hospital; it is a clinic where people are seen from Monday to Friday. People have come here for emergencies and have not been seen to and have had to be referred to the Costa del Sol". Molina demanded that the Junta regional government "keep its word".