AFTER being run privately for 15 years, Torrevieja Hospital, which serves 180,000 people has returned to public management.
Early Saturday morning Valencia Health Minister, Ana Barceló, was at the doors of the hospital to greet staff and celebrate the centre’s first day back under public control following the end of the contract with Ribera Salud.
But not a sign of the previous management company, which had been in charge since 2006, remained. All the Ribera logos had been removed and replaced with Generalitat ones. Even the placards against the reversion had been removed, all except a large sign on the roundabout at the approach to the hospital.
The decision to revert to public management was announced last year with the health department saying they could run the centre more efficiently. They claim their wage bill will be €80 million rather than the €110 million of Ribera Salud.
Barceló reiterated that it was a very important day. She said: “Our objective is to improve the quality of the service given to all citizens.” However, she commented: “We would have liked to have had the information much sooner to have been able to plan in a more orderly manner.”
Although, not everyone agreed with the decision to revert to public management and there has been much opposition over the past months. Ribera Salud tried on numerous occasions to overturn the decision, including an eleventh hour attempt to get an injunction to delay the reversion at Valencia’s High Court on Friday last week, but to no avail.
Torrevieja resident, Sacri Delgado, said she and her family weren’t in favour of the decision at all, and she wasn’t optimistic for the future. While under private management she said doctors had plenty of time to spend with each patient and nurses were able to give patients things like extra creams or dressings to take home if they needed them. Now she fears it will be different, and that waiting lists will get longer.