SOLDIERS were called out yesterday to drive the extra ambulances which were brought in from the mainland.

THE Insalud Balearic health service last night vowed to continue bringing in new ambulance services as long as the work to rule by drivers for the Balearic Ambulance Service continues. Yesterday, the health service managed to meet all calls and complete a full service, although in some cases patients had to endure a slight delay which was mainly caused by the late arrival of extra vehicles from the mainland. Last night, at the end of the first day of emergency services which involved a number of private ambulance companies being contracted, the Red Cross, taxis, the military and the Guardia Civil. The local health service blasted the president of the Balearic Ambulance Association, José María García Ruiz, for failing to comply with the minimum requirements of the contract he has with Insalud which is to have 88 ambulances operating in the Balearics. The dispute has blown up over demands by Ruiz for at least 40 more ambulances and more investment in his association so that his drivers can meet the demands of the general public and provide them with the service they deserve. The head of Insalud, Rodrigo de Santos said last night that in September, he and Ruiz signed a new contract which stated that a minimum of 88 vehicles would be operational and Santos says that over the past two days, that clause has not been honoured. Santos has been forced to turn to a number of alternative to ensure that the public gets some form of service it deserves and that all patients were dealt with yesterday. Yesterday morning a ferry from Valencia arrived with 15 ambulances on board and last night a further 25 arrived in Majorca from the mainland, many of which will be driven by soldiers or the Guardia Civil and the health services has not ruled out bringing military ambulances in to service on the streets of Palma if the dispute continues in to next week.


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