Figures released yesterday regarding the number of missed appointments with the Balearic IB-Salut health service are shameful. Coming from a country where the national health system is in constant disarray, no fault of the medical staff but more because of decades of mismanagement, I wish users of the regional health service in the Balearics appreciated just how lucky they are.

Here in the Balearics we are blessed with first rate hospitals and local medical clinics. Yes there are staffing problems and occasional questions over management, but because the health system is run at a regional level, local problems can be quickly and more efficiently addressed than if they were left up to central government in Madrid - and the same can be said for regional health services across Spain, now one of the world’s leading and ground breaking organ transplant countries.

IB-Salut also has a wonderful alert system, sending out reminders of forthcoming appointments via text messages while providing a number to contact if the patient cannot make the appointment. So there is no excuse for people failing to turn up for appointments without notifying the relevant medical department. It simply piles extra pressure on the medical staff and also deprives other people who may need faster attention of a bonus appointment. People abusing the system in this way should be penalised.