The Lehendakari inaugurates the Aztarain pavilion of Basurto Hospital
The Health Ministry invests €8 million in the refurbishment of this building in order to bring together the oncological, haematology and pain unit services.
The Aztarain building is, from today, the Medical Oncology, Haematology and Pain Unit of Basurto Hospital. Following extensive refurbishment, which has required an investment of €8 million by the Health Department of the Basque Country, this building brings together in one place a number of services that had been previously offered in different annexes of the Bilbao hospital. The Lehendakari, Patxi Lopez, presided over the inauguration, together with the Health Minister, Rafael Bengoa, and the Mayor of Bilbao, Iñaki Azkuna. Lopez emphasised that the refurbishment represents a "very significant improvement" in the coordination of medical and health care services, designed to "increase the level of convenience for patients".
The Lehendakari, Patxi Lopez, highlighted the “improvement in the coordination” of medical services and in the levels of “convenience for patients” brought about by the reunification of the oncology, haematology and pain unit services in the Aztarain building. "This refurbishment represents a very significant improvement in the coordination of services and levels of convenience for patients”, the Lehendakari explained, who supported the “concentration” of services and the “integration” of primary and hospital care, as a way of improving the Basque public health service, and the care of chronic patients and home care.
During the ceremony to inaugurate the Aztarain building, a commemorative plaque was unveiled by the Lehendakari, Patxi Lopez, the Health Minister, Rafael Bengoa, and the Mayor of Bilbao, Iñaki Azkuna. The refurbishment work allows the oncology, haematology and pain unit services to be located in the same building which, with an investment of €8 million, now has an additional 1000 m². This has allowed the installation of 44 chairs, 8 beds, a modern pain unit with 12 outpatient surgeries and 40 beds divided into 2 hospitalisation units with 16 double rooms and 8 single rooms.
In his speech, the Lehendakari reiterated the undertaking of the Basque government to improve the public health service, which finds itself in a state of “gradual, but profound” reform. The Lehendakari remarked that, “We must get to the bottom of the problem in order to resolve one of the most important issues that we face today as a society, namely the gradual ageing of the population and the consequently greater demands on medical services”. Lopez went on to explain that this involves making an “effort to improve quality standards” not based on cuts in expenditure but in “better spending”. “Neither the crisis nor any other factor will lead to a reduction” in the budget that the Basque Government allocates to health care. The Lehendakari went on to declare that this “undertaking does not contradict the plans to cut expenditure in Osakidetza”. In fact, the healthcare budget is the largest of any government department and accounts for a third of the entire budget that the Basque Government has planned for 2010
Care of chronic patients
A large part of this health reform involves reorienting the care of short-term patients to chronic patients, such as those that will be cared for in the new building. Today, chronic patients account for 80% of the activity and 77% of health expenditure, which represents an “imbalance” with regard to the investments made in their care. In this sense, the Health Minister, Rafael Bengoa, emphasised the lack of experience in the care of chronic patients. “It is a new phenomenon which has not been dealt with from an organisational viewpoint and about which we know very little”, Bengoa recognised, although he hopes that the new unit in Basurto will allow progress to be made in this field. “Half of men and a third of women will develop a form of cancer and therefore what is being done here is very important”, he added.