I had heard nothing but good reports about the Spanish National Health Service. Infact I think I wrote in this space that Britain´s NHS could learn alot from its Spanish counterpart. But that was then and this is now. Sweeping spending cuts have hit the medical care provider hard in the Balearics which is still wrestling with the opening of the enormous new hospital at Son Espases, on the outskirts of Palma. I was told recently that one couple waited almost 10 hours to be attended at the Accident and Emergency department at the hospital. This came just days after the resignation of the director of the A&E department who claimed that a lack of resources and staff was making life impossible. Now a new survey says that the Balearic Health Authority is short of 500 doctors. Unions representing thousands of medical staff have already organised a series of protest actions over the spending cuts which the government is introducing. One of the biggest headaches for the local health authority is what to do about the now unused Son Dureta hospital in Palma. Son Dureta was replaced by Son Espases although no-one knows what to do with this mammoth building in the centre of Palma. Luckily in the Balearics a large number of people have private medical insurance which means that the NHS is not so over-burdened as it is in Britain. But it still provides a major service and patients are starting to suffer as a result of the cuts. A poor state of affairs.
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