While public and private hospitals in Majorca are close to breaking point under the huge demand for beds, with patients being wheeled into the corridors because of the lack of space, it emerged yesterday that the Ministry of Defence intends to close the Military Hospital in Palma. The decision was apparently taken between Christmas and the New Year but as yet has not been made public knowledge. For the past few months all political parties have been campaigning for the Military Hospital to be opened as a civilian medical centre, in order to help and ease the strain on the Balearic health service and hospitals. Instead the hospital, which has been on the blacklist since 1996, will be converted into a military residence for the elderly. The decision has stunned the unions, medical staff, politicians and the public. Members of all political parties have visited the hospital and Parliament was on the eve of opening a debate on the proposal put forward by the Partido Popular to start negotiations with the health service and the Minsitry of Defence, in order to make the hospital open to the public. Sources for both the UGT and CCOO union said yesterday that its closure was always on the cards, but they thought they had more time in which a solution could be reached. A delay on the closure is going to be sought so that the hospital can at least be used as a day care centre for the general public.