Staff Reporter WITH the British media full of horror stories about the declining standards of the National Health Service, Britain is now looking to the Balearics in an effort to solve some of its most pressing problems.

Last night, representatives of the international contracting department of the National Health Service (NHS) attended a meeting with local doctors to explain the situation.

They were Liz Kidd, director of international contracting for the NHS, Lisa Perteghella, who co-ordinates the contracting of Spanish doctors at the British Embassy in Madrid, and José García Miralles, a consultant on the contracting of Spanish doctors.

All the doctors in the Balearics were invited to attend the meeting, held at the College of Medicine.
Perteghella and Garcia explained why the National Health Service is interested in contracting Spanish doctors rather than those of other countries, and explained how the NHS operates. “Join the team and make a difference” was the message.
Garcia explained his personal experience as a Spanish general practitioner who has been living and working in the United Kingdom for five years and is fully qualified to explain working conditions.

He also showed great understanding of the difficulties, doubts and concerns of Spanish doctors who are considering the possibility of working in Britain.

Garcia and Perteghella also answered questions regarding housing and labour problems related to moving to a foreign country.
Perteghella said that the NHS was particularly interested in general practitioners and specialists.
The visit to the Balearics follows mounting criticism of the NHS, with reports of many people opting to travel abroad for operations because of the lengthy waiting lists and more and more people turning to private insurance firms.

Many of the patients are elderly people often in severe pain because they need hip replacement or other operations to improve their mobility.
Some of them are prepared to travel as far afield as India and South Africa.
There is also a chronic shortage of dentists in Britain, with various schemes being mooted, such as shipping in dentists for a week or a fortnight to tackle the huge backlog of cases.

But the Balearic health service is not free of problems either.
The Balearic government is committed to reducing waiting lists for operations, and is well on the way to doing this.