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Alcoy

Hospitals on Spain’s Costa Blanca sending patients to private clinics to cut surgery waiting lists

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PATIENTS waiting for elective surgeries at Alicante Province hospitals are being referred to private operators to cut the backlog of operations.

Health Ministry budgets for procedures to be done in private hospitals have gone this year to €22- up €7 million on 2022, when private referrals in the area rose by 30% compared to 2021.

As of last December, 23,733 people are waiting for an operation, with a quarter on the list for over six months.

The total is 25% higher than in 2020- the first year of the Covid pandemic.

Traumatology, General Surgery, and Opthalmology department procedures account for over two-thirds of people who are waiting.

The longest delays of up to 15 months are for hip and knee surgeries in hospitals at Alicante, Alcoy, and Elche.

Besides paying private hospitals to take patients, overtime is being paid to staff to carry out procedures at weekends and evenings.

Off-peak evening surgeries went up by over 60% last year.

The Health Ministry reiterated that surgical waiting times do not apply to emergencies, oncological and other non-delayable procedures.

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Alcoy

Three Kings gear up for Spain’s longest-running parade in Costa Blanca area

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SPAIN’S longest-running Three Kings parade and celebrations gets into full gear in Alcoy on Wednesday.

The Alicante Province city’s first recorded parade was in 1866 and is classified as a ‘Tourist National Interest Festival’ and an ‘Intangible Asset of Cultural Interest’.

The Alcoy event is believed to be the longest-running documented Three Kings celebration in the world.

The impending arrival of the Magi is officially announced by their emissary every January 4 to herald the news throughout the city in an event known as ‘Bando’.

He repeatedly reads out a proclamation along various stages of the route his bosses will use to enter Alcoy on Thursday.

At the back of the emissary’s entourage will be a group of donkeys carrying mailboxes into which children can post their requests for presents from the Three Kings.

Then on Thursday morning(January 5), 6,500 ticket-holders will be able to enter the Royal Camp.

Later on 350 pages from ten local groups will distribute presents to youngsters during the Three Kings parade starting at 6.00 pm.

One of the traditions includes some of the pages climbing up huge ladders to hand over the gifts to children waiting in balconies.

The parade will have around a thousand participants including torch bearers, musicians, and dancers.

The Magi- Balthazar, Caspar, and Melchior- will travel on camels at the back of the parade and arrive in the main square between 8.00 and 9.00 pm.

They’ll be greeted by a fireworks display and the sound of Handel’s Messiah relayed via loudspeakers.

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Alcoy

Spain’s Costa Blanca reaches highest population in a decade

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ALICANTE Province’s population has risen by 19,832 over a year according to figures from the National Statistics Institute(INE).

The total- based on municipal padron registrations- is now 1,901,594.

Last July, the INE estimated there were around 21,000 residents who were not registered.

It’s the largest population figure in a decade and the INE attributes the rise to domestic and foreign migration.

Alicante and Elche have both recorded record-highs of 338,577 and 235,580 inhabitants respectively.

The third biggest municipality is Torrevieja followed by Orihuela, Benidorm, and San Vicente del Raspeig which has overtaken Alcoy as the sixth-most populous municipality in the province.

Alcoy and Elda are the only cities with over 50,000 people to have recorded population falls.

At the other end of the scale, the smallest municipality continues to be Tollos with just 30 residents- a position that it has held since records began 165 years ago.

Famorca, despite adding three residents in the last year, remains second-smallest on 48, followed by Benimassot with 93 people.

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