APART from just recruiting doctors and nurses perhaps the National Health Service in Britain should also start contracting Spanish hospital administrators and managers. As the recent ITV Holiday Hospital programmes have shown we are lucky in Majorca in having the first rate hospital, Son Dureta. And then there is Son Llatzer, Palma's second national health hospital, and yes it is run by a foundation trust. In other words it is self governing and has a degree of financial independence. So why is it that Spain's National Health Service functions and Britain's continues to suffer despite all the billions of pounds of extra funding which is now being pumped in? It is difficult to say but one point which is quite obvious, especially in Majorca, is that there are a large number of private hospitals and clinics and a considerable percentage of the population has private medical insurance. You are even entitled to tax breaks for going private which does make some sense. The public and the private sector appear to work well together and private companies run the ambulance service. The Spanish model for Foundation hospitals is being copied by the National Health Service in the UK and perhaps British hospital managers should start looking at how their counterparts work on mainland Europe. I am not saying that the Spanish system is perfect but the majority of the population has faith in it which is something which does not happen in Britain. Perhaps the thousands of Spanish recruits to the National Health Service in Britain will start making a difference and introducing tried and tested Spanish ideas. It is rather sad that the country that pioneered free medical care is now having to turn abroad for new ideas and staff but Britain can learn plenty from Spain and I hope it will make a difference.
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