by Jason Moore

One of the services hardest hit by the Spanish government's austerity cuts has been the national health service. Over the past six months I have spent quite a bit of time at Son Espases and have witnessed internal services and staff reduced and the work load on the excellent medical teams significantly increased.

What does not help is that hundreds of thousands of appointments are ignored every year by patients simply failing to turn up without informing the hospital.

Last week, while I waited, a nurse emerged and called out eight names to check they were all there for their appointments. Not one. Out of desperation she asked if any one was there to see her doctor.

And then, in the middle of all this in strode three strapping men all hand cuffed and escorted by three heavily armed members of the National Police.
They were marched straight through the busy waiting room where some people had been waiting for hours, directly into where the doctors have their surgery and immediately attended to while the third police officer stood guard outside, hand on pistol.

Some 15 minutes later, while many of the waiting patients, especially the elderly which were some what shocked by the events, sat patiently, the three prisoners were taken out a side door and obviously driven back to prison. You would not get treated that quickly by private medical insurance, never mind the national health.