The long queues have been a feature at the Orihuela Costa Health Centre for many months and we are now told they are likely to continue for some time to come.

Councillor José Galiano blames large numbers of patients requiring PCR and antigen tests and the vaccination campaign against COVID-19.

This has meant that clients have had to wait, sometimes for hours, in the sun or the rain, enduring high temperatures which are typical of those experienced at this time of year.

While Galiano has been unable to do anything about the queues what he has done is put up an awning that will at least provide some shelter for patients waiting outside the centre. He said that the tent was absolutely necessary “because it was almost inhuman for patients to be standing in direct sunlight for so long.” “Once again,” he added, “it is clear that the Orihuela Costa is in desperate need of a second health centre, but for which we still await an answer from the Ministry of Health”.

The councillor said that the long queues do not occur only in high season as you may think, but they are also repeated in the autumn and in the winter months.

“The healthcare pressure at the centre is constant throughout the year. This centre is insufficient, not only to deal with the needs of all-year round residents, but also to the ailments of tourists, and now the problem of the pandemic has been added. There is an itinerant population here, which can be seen by the consumption of water, electricity and the waste they generate.

During the winter more than one hundred thousand people reside on the Orihuela coast and in summer there are more than three hundred thousand. To serve such a population, a single health centre is totally insufficient”, said Councillor Galiano.