SHOPPING AROUND PAYS

10 November, 2008

A study by the Andalucian Consumers in Action Federation (Facua) has shown that people can save up to 70% in dentist fees if they shop around first. As an example, Facua used oral hygiene treatments, which some dentists do for as little as €35 while others charge €60. Having a tooth pulled out costs between €50 and €80, although the health centres provide this service free. The Facua report, based on a survey of 116 dental clinics in the eight Andalucian capitals, found differences of up to €300 in the prices of some dental treatments.


SEVE HAS THIRD OPERATION

27 October, 2008

Golf legend Seve Ballesteros underwent a successful third operation last Friday to reduce swelling and remove remnants of a tumour in his brain. The operation, led by chief brain surgeon Javier Heredero at La Paz Hospital in Madrid, lasted more than six hours. In a statement, doctors said the 51-year-old five-time major winner was in a stable condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit. Ballesteros was admitted to hospital after briefly losing consciousness at Madrid Airport on October 6th. He was subsequently diagnosed with a brain tumour and underwent surgery, but he needed another operation to relieve pressure on the brain last Tuesday. In an open letter to fans, he acknowledged the seriousness of the illness – saying he faced what he called the “most difficult match” of his life. Ballesteros won 87 titles during his career, including the Open in 1979, 1984 and 1988 and the Masters in 1980 and 1983. He was an instrumental figure in Europe’s Ryder Cup resurgence after making his debut in 1979 when the competition was expanded from Great Britain and Ireland to include players from continental Europe. After controversially being left out in 1981, Ballesteros returned in 1983 and helped Europe beat the United States for the first time in 28 years in 1985 to begin two decades of dominance. He went on to win eight caps, winning 22 and a half points from 37 matches. He also teamed up with countryman Jose Maria Olazabal to form the most successful partnership in Ryder Cup history, with 11 wins, two losses and two halves. After his last appearance as a player in 1995, Ballesteros captained Europe to victory on home soil at Valderrama in 1997. He retired last year following arthritic back and knee problems late in his career, while doctors discovered an irregular heartbeat when he was admitted to hospital in 2007.


MURDERED BRITON NAMED

27 October, 2008

The 46-year-old British man whose body was found in a flat in Barcelona on October 8th has been identified as Derek Cowan, who had been living in Spain for the past seven years. The Scottish businessman was found bludgeoned to death in a pool of blood by his German business partner. Detectives investigating the murder want to interview a former business associate, William Madley, who was due to meet with Mr Cowan on the day he was found dead. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have confirmed that they are in contact with the Spanish authorities and a full investigation is underway by the Catalan regional police, Los Mossos d’Esquadra.


BALLESTEROS SUFFERS COMPLICATION

20 October, 2008

Golf legend Seve Ballesteros suffered a complication following surgery on a brain tumour last Tuesday but is said to be in a stable condition, after doctors removed a piece of his skull last Thursday to relieve pressure that was building up on the brain. Ballesteros, 51, collapsed in Madrid’s Barajas Airport on October 6th. He underwent a number of tests, which uncovered the tumour. A biopsy on the tumour had been scheduled for last Tuesday but doctors decided to operate to remove as much of the tumour as possible before treatment. Ballesteros won 87 titles during his career, including the Open in 1979, 1984 and 1988 and the Masters in 1980 and 1983 and captained Europe to Ryder Cup victory at Valderrama in 1997. He retired last year following arthritic back and knee problems late in his career and doctors discovered an irregular heartbeat when he was admitted to hospital in 2007.


TWO BRITONS DIE IN FLASH FLOOD

13 October, 2008

A British woman and one of her twin daughters died in a flash flood in Valencia last Thursday. Lorraine Cullen, 47, and Lauren, 14, died trying to cross a ravine with fellow twin Samantha and the girls’ Spanish friend Gemma. Mark Cullen said the swollen river was only up to their knees but “one of them slipped and the others came crashing down”. He said Samantha grabbed hold of a tree and pulled Gemma to safety but “Lorraine and Lauren were gone”. The incident happened as the group attempted to walk across the ravine to their holiday home in L’Olleria in the Valencia region. Their bodies were found early last Friday morning, just over a mile downriver. Mr Cullen flew out to Valencia with his sons Daniel, 22, and Darren, 19, to be with his surviving daughter as she was treated at a local hospital. He and his wife had just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. He said: “It’s a blur, you don’t expect to lose two members of your family in one hit.” Last week’s torrential rain left several rivers in the east of the country running dangerously high and closed the ports of Valencia, Gandia and Sagunto. It also blocked roads and railway lines. Ferry links to Tangier and Ceuta were suspended because of storms.


COMPANY FIRE WOMAN IN COMA

13 October, 2008

A Barcelona company fired a woman worker last week for “unjustified absences from work” – as the woman lay in a coma in hospital. Sandra Tejero’s family immediately hired a lawyer who said he suspected the company – El Punt del Peix – was trying to wriggle out of having to pay her wages during what could turn out to be a long period of time. Sra Tejero fell off her motorbike three weeks ago on her way home from work. She suffered a punctured lung and the injury brought on a heart attack causing cerebral damage. The doctors said her life is not in danger but admit they have no idea how long she will be in a coma.


HEALTH WORKERS PROTEST STAFF SHORTAGES

6 October, 2008

Around 500 health workers marched through the centre of Malaga last Thursday to protest a shortfall of 500 staff across the province – 200 doctors, and 300 nurses and administrative staff. They warned that the province’s health centres face a chaotic time this Christmas. They said services will have to be cut back and there will be delay in making appointments because the Andalucian Health Service has failed to cover the shortfall. The Comisiones Obreros (Workers Commissions) union spokesman, Rafael González, and other union leaders said waiting lists would soar as a result. They said that the Junta de Andalucia is denying there is a problem but the unions plan to hold a meeting in Sevilla ahead of making a decision on possible strike action in November. A Junta spokesman denied there were any cut-backs. He said the Junta’s objective was to stabilise employment in the health sector.