THE Balearic health service Insalud said last night that it had managed to operate normal ambulance services yesterday, despite the “obstacles” put in the way by drivers working for the Balearic Ambulance Association who continued their work to rule. Insalud denies claims from the Association that Insalud's attempts to over come the industrial dispute were chaotic and the health service praised the efforts of all those who have helped ensure that the public receive the service they deserve over the past few days. Ambulances have been brought over from the mainland, an act the Ambulance Association claims is illegal, with soldiers and members of the Guardia Civil being drafted in to drive the extra vehicles. But the health crisis took an unexpected turn for the worse yesterday. While Insalud was managing to meet the demand for ambulances, Son Dureta hospital in Palma reached maximum capaciity and is in fact having to cram extra beds into wards and rooms in order to ensure that every patient gets a bed. The hospital is “overbooked” with some patients being forced to wait for an available bed in intensive care. Yesterday morning, there was a total of 30 patients parked up in intensive care waiting for a bad. Sources at the hospital also revealed that in five rooms, there were four patients and it appears that the situation will be like this for the whole of this week and perhaps beyond. What is not helping the situation is that 25 beds are out of action at Manacor hospital and at the Joan March hospital, a further 40 are unavailable for maintenance work. At Son Dureta, none of the wards are closed in accordance with legislation approved by the hospital five years ago to keep all wards open during the summer when demand is at its highest. But, while elsewhere on the island there are available beds, Son Dureta has yet to start diverting patients to other hospitals.


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