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Costa Blanca health system under strain

AS REPORTS in the British media show many hospitals being overwhelmed with the number of extra patients arriving at A&E departments, parts of Spain are experiencing similar conditions.

In one day alone, over 3,000 people were treated in the emergency departments within the Murcia region and the health service (SMS) suspended operations in a number of hospitals, such was the strain on resources.

During one day, 13 operations were cancelled – 11 at the Hospital Morales Meseguer and two in La Arrixaca – and two others transferred to other medical centres for their procedures.

Such measures aren’t unusual in other winters, but this year it’s happened earlier with the arrival of the flu epidemic ahead of time and hitting people much harder.

Of those people treated in A&E during the busiest day on record, 1,461 of those were cases of flu. In the previous week, the total was 3,765 and so far the rate across the country affected is 500 per 100,000 inhabitants.

The flu virus began to stretch the limits of the clinics and hospital A&E departments in the week after Christmas, and at that time staff reinforcements hadn’t arrived to help with the influx.

Hospital Intensive Care Units (ICU) have also been under strain as a result, with a patient from Caravaca and another from Murcia needing to be taken to the ICU at Quirónsalud due to the lack of beds.

Clinics also saw an 11.8 per cent on the number of patients seen by doctors. Figures now released show 28,947 people attended a doctor’s surgery in the Murcia region on Tuesday January 2, the first day after the Christmas and New Year holiday.

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