Staff Reporter
THE Balearic Minister for Health and Consumer Affairs, Aina Castillo, announced yesterday that the emergency department at the new University Hospital will be three times the size (5'186 square metres) of the one at Son Dureta (1'793 square metres).

In addition, more than half of all the hospital rooms (57 percent) will be single rooms, this is 469 rooms out of the total 987, Castillo said. This hospital, which is to be built in Son Espases Vell, will also offer many other services to patients and families, such as a nursery, underground parking for 1'800 vehicles, two libraries - one for the patients and the other for the hospital employees.

On a technological level, the new hospital will follow the lines of the Son Llàtzer Hospital, and will have all patients files computerised. This will allow all patients to consult the hospital through any of the communication networks.

In order to cut down waiting times, the new hospital will separate the treatment and diagnosis areas. In this way the surgical, emergency and intensive care departments will all be located in the same area, explained Castillo.

The research and maintenance buildings will be separated from the main hospital building, which has made it possible to plan more space for the reseach department, 2'310 square metres, in comparison to the 800 square metres that is available at Son Dureta.

The company who will be awarded the tender to build the hospital will be decided by this December. This will allow the building works to start either at the end of this year or during the first few months of 2006, said the Minister for Health and Consumer Affairs. It is estimated that these building works will take four years to complete.

This time plan will be achieved, said the Head of Planning and Finance, Josep Corcoll, as the company doing the work will only receive payment once all the work has been completed. If the elected company does not complete on time, the Balearic Government will also penalise them.

The cost of this new Hospital will be up to 240 million euros, 160 million euros for the building works and 80 for the architectural services. The chosen construction company will be in charge of maintaining the building for a 30 year period, and will also be in charge of the architectural and technical services.

Furthermore, the winning company will have the right to manage additional non-hospital services, such as parking, cleaning and a cafeteria.

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