A DOCTORS union says the life of an Alicante province man could have been saved last Sunday if the nearest available ambulance had been sent to his home.

The Alicante emergency coordination centre was closed in January with all demands for ambulances being routed to Valencia with call takers not having a good knowledge of Alicante province.

A woman dialled the emergency number at 3.00am on Sunday saying that her husband was unconscious at her home in La Marina village in the Elche municipality.

The situation needed a rapid life-saving response, but the Valencia centre decided to mobilise a SAMU ambulance from Elche city, some 30 kilometres away.

Meanwhile, an ambulance was available across the municipality border in Rojales- a mere seven kilometre drive.

The Medical Union has filed a complaint following the death of the man which it described as a ‘very serious matter’.

A union representative said: “It takes 25 minutes to travel from Elche crossing towns with local roads and speed bumps that prevent fast driving, with the man having died by the time paramedics arrived.”

“The result could have been very different with the Rojales ambulance just five minutes away,” he added.

SAMU said they regretted what happened which is why they were opposed to centralising emergency dispatches in Valencia and it agreed that despite La Marina being part of Elche, ‘due to its proximity’, a Rojales crew should have been dispatched.

Somewhat worryingly, the SAMU spokesperson pointed out that ‘this type of incident has already occurred several times’ since January.


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