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Managers claim a third more staff are already in place as they plead for calm at blighted hospital on Spain’s Costa Blanca

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TORREVIEJA Hospital has sent out a message of ‘calm’ amidst chaotic scenes following a change in management.

The newly-appointed administration claims that extra new specialists and care staff have already been in situ since October 15, when the private management of the facility was relinquished.

They claim, “The Emergency Service of the University Hospital of Torrevieja has four new medical specialists since last October 15 [and] has increased the number of healthcare consultations, with specialists in orthopedic surgery, traumatology, cardiology, paediatrics and ophthalmology.

However, the new Head of Emergencies at Torrevieja, Santiago Diéguez, is still looking for more staff.

He said, “We are working on attracting new physicians who wish to join this project.”

Claiming, “We are going to work in a coordinated manner to regain confidence and motivate the team in the face of the changes that are taking place, 

Sources revealed a “deficient nursing service” was found in October, with only 21 nurses and a large number of uncovered absences due to leave. 

Since then, staff numbers have risen notably, according to diariodelavega, with nurses increasing from 36 to 49 nurses and care auxiliaries from 22 to 30.

Another manager within the hospital, Pilar Santo, said on Friday December 3 that: “the safety of patients and professionals has in no case been compromised as a result of this temporary circumstance that will be resolved in the shortest possible time.”

The Olive Press reported on December 2, that the situation at the hospital got so bad that the sole doctor on duty called the Guardia Civil to tell them he could not cope.

Prior to October’s change of management at the hospital, we had also reported on a number of cases where care and aftercare at the facility was considered lacking.

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Alicante Province

New COVID-19 record but hospital admissions are much lower than 2021 numbers in Costa Blanca and Valencia areas of Spain

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A new pandemic record daily total of 39,585 cases was reported this Tuesday in the Valencian Community.

Exactly a year ago, the total was 8,423.

The high case numbers are coming mainly via the Omicron variant with many more infections also being logged than 12 months ago when easily accessible testing was unavailable.

In contrast, hospital admissions this Tuesday stand at 1,861 compared to 4,777 on the same date in 2021.

A similar two-thirds drop has come in ICU admissions with 199 cases today as opposed to 601 a year ago.

Wastewater analysis in Alicante and Valencia over recent days suggest a fall in COVID case numbers in early February.

42 deaths were declared today, which is the single-biggest daily death toll since February 25.

The split was between 30 men aged 55 to 95, and 12 women aged 66 to 94.

It’s not known how many of the people who died were unvaccinated.

A year ago, 96 fatalities attributed to COVID-19 were reported.

The Valencian government will this week ask the regional Superior Court for permission to continue using COVID passports for indoor access to hospitality and entertainment venues beyond the current January 31 expiry date.

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Costa Blanca

HOW TO WATCH: Spain decides Eurovision song in three-day Benidorm Fest this week

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BENIDORM this week hosts a three-day competition to decide which of 14 artists will represent Spain at Eurovision 2022.

It’s the first year Benidorm gets to host Spain’s first ‘mini-Eurovision’ contest in efforts to improve upon dour former performances.

The Benidorm Fest follows Italy’s footsteps, who in 2021 selected winners Maneskin following their success at the Sanremo music festival.

National broadcaster RTVE chose the sunny and singing city of Benidorm to host the Benidorm Fest at least until 2025.

RTVE will broadcast the three nights of competition this week on La 1 and Canal Internacional in Spain.

It will also be available online on RTVE’s digital platform Play, as well as the RNE radio station.

Tickets to the Palau l’Illa are free and given out in a lottery.

Anyone in Benidorm can enjoy the events however on three large screens set up on Playa Levante.

The first semi-final kicks off at 22:40 on Wednesday, January 26, followed by the second semi-final at 22:40 on Thursday, January 27.

Both events will be over by midnight.

The final will be broadcast on Saturday, January 29, at 22:05.

This is the line-up:

Semi-final 1 – Wednesday 26, 22.40 CET

  1. Luna Ki – “Voy a morir” (WITHDRAWN)
  2. Varry Brava – “Raffaella”
  3. Azúcar Moreno – “Postureo”
  4. Blanca Paloma – “Secreto de agua”
  5. Unique – “Mejores”
  6. Tanxugueiras – “Terra”
  7. Chanel – “SloMo”

Semi-final 2 – Thursday 27, 22.40 CET

  1. Xeinn – “Eco”
  2. Marta Sango – “Sigues en mi mente”
  3. Javiera Mena – “Culpa”
  4. Gonzalo Hermida – “Quién lo diría”
  5. Rigoberta Bandini – “Ay mamá”
  6. Rayden – “Calle de la llorería”
  7. Sara Deop – “Make you say”

Drama began early as Luna Ki pulled out after realising her use of auto-tune will be scored unfavourably at the actual Eurovision contest.

Tanxugueiras currently has the most popular song on YouTube, whose Galician-language Terra has racked up 2.6 million views.

Meanwhile the top song on streaming platforms is Rigoberta Bandini’s Ay Mama, with over 2.7 million streams to date.

The 14 semi-finalists will be reduced to 8 for the final, during which 6 more will be eliminated.

Voting is scored 50% by a panel of professional judges, with 25% contributed by 350 people representing Spain’s demographics and 25% by calls and SMS from the public.

Phone lines will open for just 15-20 minutes and numbers announced during the events.

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Costa Blanca

Valencia launches its own ‘Camino de Santiago’ to support severely depopulated villages

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THE Valencian Community has announced its very own ‘Camino de Santiago’ where travellers win stamps of recognition through 24 villages.

But rather than leading towards the bones of St James, Valencia’s ‘Ruta 99’ trail leads travellers towards villages at risk of abandonment.

Each of the 24 villages in the route have fewer than 99 inhabitants and are suffering from Spain’s crushing rural depopulation.

A specialised website (www.ruta99.gva.es) maps out the villages and explains their ‘value and attractions’ including top restaurants, hotels, historical sites and natural areas.

The trial includes the stunning clear-watered Pozo Negro waterfall in Fuentes de Ayodar, the Moorish hanging caves near Carricola, or the town of Matet famous for producing traditional high-quality olive oil called ‘liquid gold’.

Each village’s description also details the restaurant or office where travellers can pick up their pilgrimmage-style stamp.

You get a different award for visiting by motorbike, bicycle or walking the different stages.

The Valencian government have also produced a map (www.ruta99.gva.es/mapa-ruta99) all to help visitors ‘connect with your interior’ and halt the decline of Spain’s rural villages.

The Valencian Community has 180 municipalities at risk of depopulation – 60% of these villages in Castellon have fewer than 200 inhabitants.

The Ruta 99 connects the smallest of these, starting in Castellon’s Els Ports region (Herbes, Palanques, Vallibona, Villores) in Baix Maestrat (Castell de Cabres) in Alto Palancia (Higueras, Matet, Pavias, Sacañet) and in Alto Mijares (Espadilla, Fuente la Reina, Fuentes de Ayodar, Torralba del Pinar, Torrechiva, Vallat, Villamalur, Villanueva de Viver).

In Valencia province the route continues through the Rincon de Ademuz (Puebla de San Miguel) and the Vall d’Albaida (Sempere, Carricola).

Villages in Alicante province include the Comptat region (Benillup, Benimassot, Famorca, Tollos).

Valencian rockband Bajoqueta Rock provided a promotional song and video for the Ruta 99, while photographer Marga Ferrer has created a travelling exhibition called ‘La Mirada Interior’ (the inward view).

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