Luxury brands are fighting to find room on the Paseo de Gràcia despite many other retail businesses failing due to the continued economic crisis (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The street which already houses many of the principal global fashion labels such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton has recently seen the opening of such shops such as Armani and Miu Miu with Italian designer Prada due to open in the spring of next year after searching for three years for a suitable location on the street. The continuous intense commercial activity is thought to be closely linked to the increase in tourists visiting the Catalan capital. Competition for spots on the lucrative street is tight with only two commercial locals currently available. Of the 163 shops to be located there 65 are national operators with 35 percent of them being international businesses. An impressive 20 percent of the total number of businesses represented are luxury brands. Luis Sans, president of the Amics del Passeig de Gràcia explained that apart from the new openings there have been a significant number of stores have been remodeled and expanded including Chanel, Loewe, Furest and Santa Eulalia. According to Sans, the characteristics of the street, the width of the pavements, the presence of the Casa Batllo and La Pedrera all factor in the success of the street.
A new model for making up medical waiting lists will use a points system where the severity of the complaint might not be enough to guarantee a patients inclusion (read article in Castilian here, El Pais). Concerns are being raised over a new system for compiling operation waiting lists which looks set to prejudice the elderly and unemployed. The new system, which is due to be rolled out at the end of the year, will now take in to consideration factors unrelated to the seriousness of your complaint such as your personal or employment situation. For example, for hip or knee operations a patient will have to reach 75 points to guarantee their inclusion on an operation waiting list. The new scale will give 18 points if the patient is showing advance stages of disease, 33 points if they suffer severe pain and 20 if the patient is unable to perform most daily activities. Even with the worst prognosis, a patient only reaches 71 points and is therefore not guaranteed an operation. Other variables taken into consideration are that the person isn't working (0 points), has someone to care for them (0 points) and has no dependents (0 points), all common features in the situations of many elderly patients, arguably prejudicing a large proportion of older patients and the unemployed. The need to limit the entry of patients on waiting lists has come due to severe cuts in health spending of around 10 percent (€1,000 million). Until now, it was down to doctors to decide whether a patient should be added to waiting lists, with some lists this meant a patient could be guaranteed being operated on within six months. A spokesperson for the department of health admitted that there will now be a possibility that sicker patients will not be guaranteed inclusion on some waiting lists.
The Ayuntamiento presented yesterday its new weapon against street vandalism; a new paint which repels grafitti, stickers and other similar eyesores (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The Ayuntamiento is set to invest €4.5 million a small price to pay considering that it costs the council €4 million each year cleaning the city. The new paint which will be applied to streetlights, traffic lights and manholes repels glue, ink and stops corrosion caused by the urine of dogs. Joan Puigdollers, councilor for the environment and urban services said at the ceremony yesterday that unfortunately street vandalism is widespread throughout the city but the plan is due to be implemented in all districts in Barcelona. The plan, which will require a three-step approach, starting with cleaning and then painting a primer and a second coat, before applying the paint to metallic points around the city. By the end of the year the council hope to have painted around 28.000 points.