FOR the first time in this winter season, the Alicante General Hospital was forced to place a number of emergency beds in the corridors.
According to reports, there are usually 19 such beds used but the cold snap that hit the area during the early part of this week has resulted in a sharp increase of elderly people with respiratory problems using the hospital.
An extra 18 beds have therefore been deployed.
Emergency medical personnel have been stretched to their limits over the last few days to cope with the extra demand.
Those initially going to the hospital with breathing difficulties can often end up with more serious conditions and so the extra admissions adds to the build up and need for beds.
All the patients have undergone a series of tests to see if the extra numbers are due to a possible flu epidemic, but so far the results have come back negative.
However, and in preparation for the usual annual increase in flu victims that traditionally takes place around January 20, and an extra nurse and an assistant have been added to the medical team.
In addition, Alicante General Hospital have seen a spike in patients admitted suffering from a stroke and neurological conditions in the first week of 2019.
Torrevieja and Vinalopo Health Regions have also reported treating a number of people – mainly over 65-years-old – with respiratory and bronchial conditions during the same period.