Recent events have once again shone the spotlight on the lack of 24-hour emergency health facilities in Manilva leading to local residents, forming a protest group which is currently gathering signatures on a petition which it plans to present to the Regional Government in an attempt to force them to fulfill their commitments.
Despite repeated promises by the Junta de Andalucia’s Department of Health, Manilva relies on facilities in neighbouring municipalities for round the clock emergency medical provision.
The Health Centre in Sabinillas, which was opened in 2008, was built using local funds with the Junta paying for its operational costs, one of which was a 24 hour emergency room which has never been operational since the day the centre opened.
The majority, if not the entire burden of running costs and employment of staff and maintenance at the Sabinillas health centre is paid for by the local Town Hall when it should be paid by the Junta.
The local council has repeatedly pressured the Junta on this matter and back in 2011 another incident led to protests and the presentation of a petition signed by thousands of angry residents.
The protest also highlights the lack of ambulance cover, which have to come from Estepona since the local ambulance, funded by the council, has been off the road.
All this, in a municipality with a population of 15 thousand residents which triples during the summer tourist season, leaves people at risk due to delays in receiving emergency medical aid in the event of an accident or sudden illness.
According to María Victoria Sequeiro, who founded the action group ‘En el paraíso sin ambulancia’ (In Paradise without an Ambulance), the aim is to gather as many signatures as possible and then to travel up to Seville and hold a protest outside the Regional Parliament whilst delivering the petition to the head of the health service.
When asked to comment on the subject, Manilva’s councillor for Foreign Residents, Dean Shelton, stated that in his opinion this needed to be done, “it was time now for the people of Manilva of all nationalities and political persuasions to stand up and support this platform by way of signing the petition or whatever else may be needed, and that in conjunction with the council the platform should push and if necessary publicly embarrass the regional government into keeping its promises and commitments to our town and its people”.
So how can you help? There are petition forms at a number of locations including:
Kiosco CHACON, Lenceria Roxana, Oficina de usos múltiples, Tienda Salvi, Peluqueria CARMELI, Asador a leña, Mas que letras, Tenencia de Alcaldía, Tienda Rumors, Restaurante El Varadero, Peluquería Sheila, St. George Charity Shops, El Genal Paseo Maritimo, Quebak Yusra, Pasteleria RosAbril, Polleria Miguel, Meson Rocio, Floristería Violeta, El carnicero de Sabinillas, Aquamanil, Oficina de Comercio, Tienda Burgos, The Bookshop, Childline, Kisco Tere, Kiosco La Colonia, El Chringuito de Pepe, La Tratoria Restaurante, Peluquería Loli, Bar Azul (sabinillas)
Farmacia de Manilva, Foto Susana, Bar Alcántara, Tienda Carmen, Estanco, Peluqueria Nerea, Heladería que fresquito, Tienda el Gallego, Talleres Gomez.
Castillo & Duquesa
Chiringuito Malibu, Restaurante Antonio, Oficina de extranjería, Supermercados Burgos, Bar Heaven, Restaurante Griffins.
Or you can sign the online petition at www.change.org
This is just another issue that has led to frustration with the Junta de Andalucia’s health policy, another being the repeated reneging on promises to construct a hospital in Estepona, despite local municipalities pledging to fund most of the building costs and the deal being already signed last decade.