A cancer care centre, specifically designed to treat children in the Valencia region, has closed down, with the closest centre now, the only one remaining, being in Madrid.
Since opening in the year 2000, the Ministry of education and culture donated the building to the Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer, AECC, for their free use for a period of 25 years. The centre had the capacity to accommodate children and families in six double rooms, with other auxiliary rooms, including a games room and study area, with a teacher provided by the department of education to provide continual education to children being treated in the centre. Children undergoing treatment could use the facilities, along with a companion, such as a parent, either staying over or just as a brief recuperation visit, all for free.
According to María José Mínguez from the AECC, the cost of maintain the centre, which had a coordinator and two support staff, was 100,000 euro per year. In 2013, the board itself acknowledged in their financial report that the “economic health” of the centre is “very good”, and that it represents 7% of their annual expenditure, less than their annual expense for smoking cessation, which is 8%, both considerably less than the 18% spent on marketing in 2013, although considerably more than the 3% spent on prevention campaigns.
In a letter sent to the local representative, the President of the AECC in Valencia, Tomás Trenor Puig, a lawyer who holds the distinguished title of The Marquis del Turia, a Spanish noble title originally granted by Alfonso XIII in 1909, explains the “difficult decision”, by detailing how in the last five years the occupation of residence has been reduced by half.
Part of the reduced requirement in the centre for children has been blamed on the Hospital la Fe, which is said to “prefer” other options that guarantee continual care for their patients, and in the case of an emergency arising, a transfer from the AECC centre to La Fe would take between 20 and 30 minutes, which has “led us to rethink the effort to keep up the residence”, the letter continues.
One other consideration believed to have been responsible for the decline in numbers is the opening of another new centre for children just 3 years ago. Closer to the La Fe hospital, Ronal McDonald House, which is sponsored by McDonald Foundation, offers 16 rooms, more than the AECC centre, but has the added benefit of not being exclusive to cancer patients, but for children with any condition requiring a few days accommodation near a hospital because they undergo treatments that do not require admission.
However, many people are not taking the news with the acceptance that the Marquis may have hoped, with many complaining both verbally and in writing at the closure, with such strong comments including “even if the number of resident children has reduced by half, that is still 3 children who have received continual and uninterrupted attention” to their health needs.
With the representatives of the AECC in Valencia collecting and contributing just over 300,000 euro, many people are now questioning their financial contribution to the AECC, given that the funding has been withdrawn from the centre for children, it is hoped that the decision can be reversed, but hope can sometimes only lead to disappointment.
Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/44722/