Health centre closures overwhelm A&E

Paco Rives Manresa on Flickr

THE closure of health centres in the afternoon threatens to overwhelm the emergency departments. Health centres in Elche and across the Vinalopo are preparing to close in the afternoons during July and August in a bid to save costs, with the Ministry of Health justifying the move with a supposed decline in use during the summer holiday period.
However, experience from previous years has shown the move has simply led to more people going to the emergency departments of Elche’s General Hospital and the Hospital of Vinalopo, which has led to complaints from users.
The hospitals say the closure of the health centres at 3pm, rather than 9pm as is normal the rest of the year, simply results in hospital staff being overworked and dealing with cases that should be dealt with more locally by a GP or practice nurse.
One doctor said: “During the summer months this area receives large numbers of tourists. There is a much greater concentration of people and therefore, many more potential patients.”


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