AFTER a year of deadlock between Estepona council and the Junta de Andalucia, negotiations have finally begun to open the town’s new hospital. 

It comes after outraged residents had started protesting and collecting signatures to demand swift opening of the facilities. 

Mayor of Estepona, Jose Maria Garcia Urbano, had said more than a year ago that the long-awaited facility would be open and ready to use ‘within a month’. 

“People simply cannot understand why the building is empty when, due to COVID-19, there is intense pressure on the Costa del Sol Hospital,” said local pressure group PAIH Chair David Dominguez. 

“Before last May’s election the Council organised guided tours of the new building and told us it would soon be open.” 

Conflict began between the council who paid for the building’s construction and the Junta de Andalucia whose health service are responsible for equipping and staffing it. The building has stood empty with no signs of a resolution between the parties responsible authorities until now. 

The Mayor met with the leader of the Junta de Andalucía, Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla, at Estepona Hospital  and agreed a timetable to have the facilities open by 2023. 

They aim, however, to have external operations running within the next six months. 

“We’ll be saving the champagne until the first patient has walked through the doors,“ said Dominguez.

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