STILL reeling from the sucker punch of the British government clamping down on expatriates using the National Health Service, local residents across the southern Costa Blanca were dealt a further blow this week with the announcement of serious lay-offs at the Hospital Quiron Torrevieja.
A series of private healthcare mergers at the national level since 2012 have already significantly reduced the workforce and capacity of the Torrevieja Hospital, which is a vital local resource for those with chronic health problems or needing emergency treatment.
Now the hospital’s parent company, QuironSalud, is trying to push a further 28 redundancies through, a decision which has been heavily criticised by a worker’s committee ‘Todos Somos 5’ (Together we are five).
The support group, which represents five public hospitals under private management in the region: Vinalopo, Torrevieja, Denia, Manises and Alzira, has accused Quironsalud of reneging on an agreement made with the hospital staff in which they agreed to a wage freeze in order to avoid further lay-offs.
Though undoubtedly a deplorable situation for the staff members themselves and their families, the redundancies will also have a severe impact on the quality of care the hospital can provide to patients, according to Todos Somos 5.
Among the laid off staff will be long standing and highly experienced personnel, thus placing a greater burden on the remaining 350 workers who may also be short on morale.
QuironSalud was formed as part of a merger between two of Spain’s most powerful private healthcare firms in the summer of 2014 and has since been in charge of more than 40 hospitals across Spain, also operating in Orihuela.
With the Spanish healthcare system incorporating a complex combination of both public and private services, many British expatriates rely on private healthcare plans, especially if returning to the UK is no longer an option.
Countless numbers of British residents in Spain are among the millions of consultations and operations carried out each year by QuironSalud, and they will be carefully watching the developments in Torrevieja as they strive to secure the best healthcare for themselves and their families