Ribera Salud, the current management company that operates the Orihuela Costa Health Centre, has said that it will build a 2nd centre for the coast, but only if it’s management concession is extended beyond 2021. Regional government, however, has said that the service will be reverted to public management when the contract ends in October 2021.

The concessionaire said that the new facility will be incorporated into its strategic investment plan during 2021-2026, therefore, to develop the project the Government would have to extend the concession for a further five years allowed by the contract, something that now seems unlikely given that the government maintains that it will revert to public management, along with Torrevieja Hospital, once the concession ends in 21 months.

However the Ministry of Health has now asked for an urgent meeting with the mayor of Orihuela, Emilio Bascuñana, to discuss the construction of the new health centre in Orihuela Costa that will meet the needs of the population.

The announcement comes after the City Council said that it is looking for some land in Orihuela Costa to transfer to them for the construction of a second health centre and that, if it isn’t built the municipality would assume the works for a new medical office.

The PSOEde la Vega Baja said that the Community Department of Health, which is overseen by the socialist Ana Barceló, is not authorised to build a new health centre since Orihuela Costa belongs to the Department of Health of Torrevieja, which has public-private health management through the Ribera Salud concession.

However, the Orihuela council is insisting that Health should authorise construction. The only health centre that is dedicated to the Orihuela Costa, and which serves more than 30,000 residents, is far too small. The land for a second facility would be some way from the current Aguamarina health centre so as to redistribute work to two areas that are apart in order to shorten the travel times of users and staff.

The manager of the Torrevieja Department of Health, Eva Baró, said that the intention of Ribera Salud is to ask the Ministry of Health for the relevant authorisations “so that the construction of the centre can be undertaken as soon as possible.” As she explained, this project is part of the strategic plan 2021-2026 for the Department of Health of Torrevieja that includes further investment “with a vision of the future” and that will add to the more than 116 million euros already invested in the Vega Baja in the last 13 years, 36 million more than that required by the concession contract, Ribera Salud recalled.

However, this forecast for the future depends on the Ministry of Health extending the concession that expires on October 15, 2021. The government has said that this concession will revert to public health in 2021, when it expires, through non-renewal. If so, it would not authorise Ribera Salud to build a second health centre in Orihuela Costa , since the concessionaire’s plans are only feasible if the concession is extended.

Concessionairre Ribera Salud say that they have received no official notification regarding the termination of the contract “so we continue to work normally on long-term projects.