The European Investment Bank is providing a EUR 165 million loan for the Central University Hospital of Asturias, in Oviedo, the capital of Principado de Asturias, one of Spain's seventeen autonomous regions.

The new hospital will create a regional facility delivering high quality care and medical education. The improved performance will come as consequence of the purpose-built modern hospital building and as a result of the new service model adopted. Among the main benefits are: the more effective ambulatory-focused service model; removal of duplications in existing services and equipment; improved safety for staff and patients within the premises so as to meet prevailing environmental requirements; improved space and functionality; and better access to the hospital site.

The project is being developed in an expanding urban area that hosted a decommissioned hospital. Measures taken to improve access with different transport means and reduce traffic congestion in the city center will help improve the urban environment. Works are expected to be finalized in 2009.

The EIB loan will be extended for 28 years and will cover close to 50% of the total investment. The strong support to the project is based on the EU policy aiming at improving human capital, through better healthcare facilities and by strengthening clinical education, training and research in collaboration with the university's R&D programme and with other institutions. The Bank has been involved in this project from the initial stages and has actively participated in its structuring and in its implementation, focusing on minimising costs and adding financial and non-financial value, stemming from its experience with similar projects in other European countries.

The investment promoted by the Principado de Asturias will be implemented and managed by GISPASA, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) 100% owned by the former. The project has been procured by means of an innovative use of PPP type contractual arrangements but centred on GISPASA. This is expected to result in greater transparency of costs and accountability, greater market discipline, and a whole life approach to maintenance. The funding advantages of the Bank's participation are entirely captured by the Principado de Asturias thereby releasing budgetary resources for the further development of other public services to meet local needs in an EU objective 1 area.

Principado de Asturias has 1.1 million population (2.5% of Spain's total), residing in 78 municipalities spread over 10 560 km². The largest conurbations are Gijón ( pop. 271 000) and the capital Oviedo (pop. 209 000).