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Residents of Ardales and Carratraca are calling for a reinforcement of the emergency services in both towns. Sur
Ardales and Carratraca join forces in protest against emergency delays: 'A three-year-old was unconscious for an hour at school'
Health

Ardales and Carratraca join forces in protest against emergency delays: 'A three-year-old was unconscious for an hour at school'

Town councils and residents have created a neighbourhood platform to ask the Junta for a solution, as they claim that ambulances take up to 75 minutes to arrive when something happens

Alba Tenza

Friday, 19 April 2024

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"On leaving school in Ardales, a youngster felt unwell, so much so that the child lost consciousness, so the teachers quickly called 112 at 13.55pm, however the ambulance did not arrive until 14.46pm, by which time, the three-year-old child had been unconscious for an hour at the entrance of the school," the deputy mayor of the town, Justo Manuel Muñoz, said, commenting on an incident that happened recently.

This event had an impact, not only on the educational community and Ardales town hall, but also on all the residents who have experienced similar situations due to the lack of emergency coverage in the municipality. Also, the residents and the council of Carratraca have experienced similar situations, which is why both towns have joined together to create the Ardales-Carratraca neighbourhood platform for healthcare to protest against the delay in emergency services in both municipalities.

"We don't want to be second-class citizens; we want a decent health service for our people. There have already been too many residents who have suffered this problem and we are tired of asking without getting an answer," Muñoz added.

Last month, the Junta de Andalucía announced the provision of a new ambulance for Ardales that will serve the entire Guadalhorce Valley region. "Currently, the municipality of Ardales has a medical ambulance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This resource does not exist in any other municipality in the health district and provides service on weekdays in different areas in the district, while the rest of the time it is at the disposal of the residents of Ardales," the regional government said, while announcing that an additional ambulance would be added to the existing one, which would have an advanced life support team and a doctor and nurse, supervised by a doctor coordinating the locality.

Despite the fact that the Guadalhorce Valley district announced last month a restructuring of the ambulances in the town with the inclusion of a 24-hour nurse, which will serve the entire health district, councillor Juan Alberto Naranjo said that this change in the municipality "is an improvement, but it is not the solution, because in the last two cases the ambulance took up to 75 minutes to arrive".

The councillor pointed out that the 300 children in both Ardales and Carratraca have to go to Álora every time they need to go to the doctor, as there is no paediatric service in these towns, so they are asking the Junta de Andalucía for a solution to this problem.

Back-up doctor

The spokesperson for the new neighbourhood platform, Toñi Paz, told SUR that the problem stems from the lack of a 24-hour medical service in each town, as the ambulance can only leave when the doctor is on duty. "This is the same as if we had nothing. At weekends we have a doctor for whom the council pays 50,000 euros a year as a back-up, so he can't use the ambulances," Paz said.

Regarding the regional authority's most recent announcement of the new ambulance, Paz pointed out on behalf of the villagers that "nothing has changed". "The villagers have to use their cars to get to A&E, and in Carratraca they only have a doctor two hours a day, so it's an impossible situation," she said.

The aim of the platform is to have a doctor 24 hours a day, even if it is in Ardales, so that if something happens in Carratraca, they can go to that emergency centre in five minutes by car, instead of going to the Hospital Valle del Guadalhorce.

"My father suffered a stroke, and after an hour waiting for the ambulance, we had to put him in the car and take him to the hospital because there was not even a doctor in the village," Paz explained.

Faced with situations like this, the platform rallied last weekend in Ardales, and will do so again on Friday 19 April at 7pm in Carratraca to demand improved healthcare in both municipalities.

New ambulance

The regional government pointed out that the new ambulance is not yet in operation, and so medical assistance in Ardales will be provided by two full-time family doctors, as well as three full-time nurses: two in Ardales and one in Carratraca.

"The Ardales and Carratraca surgeries are open from Monday to Friday from 8am to 3pm, and in Ardales, two days a week until 6pm. During the opening hours in both centres there are medical and nursing staff with training and skills in emergency situations," the regional authority said, adding that the Guadalhorce Valley will have a total of ten ambulances that will serve about 140,000 inhabitants.

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