Crisis In The Vega Baja Hospital?
Staff Reporter / 2005-06-07 09:38:48
There have been reports in the local Spanish press about the breakdown of services in the Accident and Emergency department at the Vega Baja hospital with one report in particular stating that people were being kept waiting on trolleys in the corridors for several hours and that foreign people arriving without translators were also kept waiting.
We at the 'Leader' decided to investigate these reports and see for ourselves how the emergency department was coping. We visited last Thursday morning at around 10.30am. The department was busy but not overcrowded. Staff were friendly and helpful and a quick trip through the department showed that although there were trolleys lying ready in the corridors, only one or two actually had patients on them.
We tried to speak to the administration of the hospital but they refused to comment, referring us to the Department of Health in the Valencian government. We spoke to several people about their visit to the emergency department and received favourable replies.
A young Spanish lad, who confused our reporter by wearing an England football shirt, had attended the Accident and Emergency department with his father. They were both very pleased with the quick treatment they had, saying that they had only had to wait around ten minutes to be seen.
An English woman who had broken her arm in a fall was also happy with both the speed of her treatment and the quality. No one that we spoke to had a bad word to say. Certainly, the whole atmosphere was a lot friendlier and more efficient than the kind of service we have got used to back in the U.K.
Unions at the hospital have called a number of one hour strikes to protest at what they say is a lack of human resources, in particular in the Accident and Emergency department. They believe that with the huge increase in the population that takes place through the summer months in the Vega Baja region, the emergency department will not be able to cope and that patients' health may be at risk.
The hospital administration issued a statement regarding the reports in the Spanish press, saying that the conditions described happened only occasionally at times of high traffic in the department and that people were kept on trolleys for the shortest possible time and as soon as a bed became available they were moved. They said that the conditions described were by no means the norm and said that no patient was left without the treatment they needed. The administration said that they believed the problems at the hospital would be resolved once the new hospital being built in Torrevieja was up and running. The new hospital is not due to be finished until late summer next year.
In the meantime, the unions at the hospital have called for a demonstration through the streets of Orihuela on the 4 June to bring the problems at the hospital to the wider public's attention. The Izquierda Verde party in the Orihuela Council has added their support to the strike next Friday.
So, is the situation at the hospital as bad as reports have made out? It would seem that in general they are not. We would be very interested in your opinion though. If you have had to go the accident and emergency department at the Vega Baja hospital, write and tell us what you thought of the speed and the efficiency of your treatment and how did it compare with any similar treatment you may have received in a British hospital. Your comments will be published in a future edition of this newspaper.