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Spain goes for small hi-tech hospitals to ease load

The first of a network of small hi-tech hospitals designed to relieve health service congestion in some of southern Spain’s most populous areas was opened last week.

The £14m hospital is in Benalmádena with three more expected to be up and running in Estepona, the Guadalhorce Valley and Mijas by 2011.

It has a catchment area of 70,000 inhabitants and will take some of the pressure off the Clínico Universitario Hospital in Malaga and the Costa del Sol Hospital in Marbella.

The Spanish Health Department has spent another £4m on equipping and staffing the centre which has an accident and emergency department, an outpatient unit, an X-ray diagnosis department, three operating theatres, wards with 25 beds, clinical support areas and administration offices.

With a staff of 200, the centre aims to perform 4,000 operations a year and to deal with 60,000 specialist appointments and 3,000 emergencies.

One of the most notable factors of the new hospital is that it is almost entirely digital and effectively “paper free”.

A total of 17 LCD monitors are distributed around the centre with information about appointments and specialists.

The hospital also boasts telemedicine, digital radiology and bluetooth facilities.

Spanish Health Ministry