The European Investment Bank providedEUR 42.5 millionto Servicio Murciano de Salud for the construction and the fitting-out of a general hospital in the City of Murcia, South East Spain. The new hospital will replace the general hospital that was seriously affected by the 1998 earthquake and demolished.

The new hospital will cater for the medical care of some 150 000 inhabitants of the City of Murcia and the nearby towns of Beniel and Santomera.

The new hospital will specialise in short-stay treatment and surgery. The project comprises several units, among which: nine for accommodation (including psychiatric and dietary illness), intensive care, accident and emergency, day treatment, day surgery, an operating block with ten theatres and two ophthalmology operating theatres, laboratories, imaging, functional rehabilitation, pharmacy and occupational medicine. The works will be completed by early 2003.

Servicio Murciano de Salud is a public entity created in 1994 and controlled by the Comunidad Autonoma of Murcia. Among others it has responsibility for health promotion, illnesses prevention, first aid, and specialised sanitary assistance. It provides as well complementary services to those offered by the National Health Service and has its activity centred on two general hospitals in Murcia. The latter also supply research services through the University of Murcia and emergency health services to subscribers of insurance companies.

The EIB was set up in 1958 to finance investment furthering EU integration. The EIB concentrates lending in areas considered top priority by its shareholders, the European Union Member States. Current priorities are: EU regional development, i2i, environmental improvement and protection, preparation of candidate countries for accession, as well as support of EU development and cooperation policy with some 150-partner countries outside the EU.i2i -Innovation 2000 Initiative- promotes a knowledge-based and innovation-oriented economy. It focuses on human capital formation, research and development, dissemination of innovation, development of SMEs and entrepreneurship, as well as information and communications technology networks.

In 2000, the EIB provided loans totalling some EUR 36 billion. The Bank borrows on the capital markets the funds it lends. Its bonds have regularly been rated "AAA" by the leading rating agencies.