By Humphrey Carter
THE Balearics is to draw up a special medical emergency plan to be put in operation during the busy summer season when the strain on hospitals and staff increases dramatically. News of the new summer operation was broken yesterday by Balearic Health Minister Aina Castillo who said that this summer, for example, the emergency medical services had to deal with a 13.1 percent increase in cases. The Minister explained that the emergency plan will be drawn up in consultation with the director general for operational planning, Josep Corcoll. The prime areas where emergency services will be boosted during the summer season will be those areas with the largest floating population and influx of visitors, be they holidaymakers or holiday home owners. “The Balearics is primarily a tourist destination and attracts a large number of visitors every summer, some of whom unfortunately at times need medical attention,” said the Minister yesterday. She also added that this year was an unusual year because of the heat wave. However, it did serve to highlight certain deficiencies in the Balearics' emergency systems which she aims to correct in time for this summer. This summer, during the heat wave, the Balearic health service IB-Salut, handled 99.709 cases, 13.1 percent more than the 88.138 cases dealt with during the summer of 2002. In June, the health service dealt with 30.644 cases, eight percent up on June 2002 while in July the number of cases leapt nearly 13 percent. In August, as the heat wave really started to take its toll on the population, the number of cases compared to August 2002, rocketed by 18 percent. But, before the Balearics launches its new summer medical operation, the Minister said that the health service is braced for its annual bout of flu.
Castillo said that doctors are already handling more cases than in 2002 and she praised the hard work members of the health service are doing to help fight the flu virus this year.

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