THE regional Valencian government has unveiled an investment of €658 million into the public healthcare system between now and the year 2023.
This figure is three times higher than the total budget reserved for health centres and hospitals during the 2016–2019 period, and four times more than in 2012-2015.
Of the total €658 million, the vast majority – €512m – will be invested in public hospitals, while the remaining €146m will be spent on improving and building new municipal health centres.
Generalitat chief Ximo Puig and regional Healthcare councillor Ana Barcelo presented the plan yesterday (Wednesday June 2), explaining that the aim is to establish a ‘robust, modern and efficient’ system that is equipped to provide the best possible service during normal times and to deal with emergency situations – such as the COVID pandemic.
Up to 96 projects are on the cards, including restoration work, expansion of existing infrastructures, and construction of new ones.
In total, the Valencian healthcare system will be boosted with more than 1,200 new hospital beds, added to the existing 10,000 that were stretched almost to breaking point during the vicious third wave of COVID in January.
Plans also include 48 new operating theatres, construction of 18 new local health centres and improvements to another 26 existing ones, refurbishment work on 22 hospitals, and the construction of an investigation centre in Alicante.
Among the main projects is the construction of Ontinyent Hospital and the Campanar-Ernest Lluch Hospital on the site of Valencia city’s old La Fe centre.
However, the largest percentage of the investment – up to €100 million – will be spent on expanding Valencia’s Hospital Clinic. Work is expected to continue until 2024 and includes enlarging the existing installations by an extra 40,000 square metres.
This will effectively double the number of existing beds at the Hospital Clinic to more than 960, plus increasing the outpatient department by 40% and doubling the capacity of the intensive care unit.
The overall aim of the scheme is to improve the conditions of both patients and healthcare workers, increase the system’s response capacity in emergency situations, and modernise resources and technology.
President Puig revealed that the funds will be shared out among the three provinces according to size and population, meaning Alicante will receive €244 million, Valencia €340 million, and Castellon €73 million.