DUE DATE: The hospital is expected to be completed in 18 months

WORK on Estepona’s first public hospital will finally begin in May.

Construction will start during the first fortnight of next month, Mayor José María García Urbano has promised.

He hopes it will be completed in 18 months, four months less than previously suggested but 10 years after the hospital was first promised.

Situated in the Urbanizacion Santa Maria 7km west of Estepona, Garcia said the state-of-the-art centre will also cost nearly €3m less to build than estimated, at €15m instead of €17.7m.

UTEOgensa-Helopav has been awarded the construction for the 14,300 m2 building, which will have an A&E with a helicopter pad and a paediatric ward as well as surgical, consultation and diagnostic units.

It will serve Estepona’s 70,000 residents along with those from nearby towns such as Casares and Manilva, as well as the area’s tourist population.

Estepona Council decided to fund the build with help from private funders after work on a previous Junta-financed hospital plan stalled.

The Junta will foot the running costs and be responsible for its management when it opens.

Up to now, people have had to continue to travel 40km to the current nearest public hospital in Marbella.

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