Staff Reporter
Balearic regional authorities are to ask the new Socialist government in Madrid for further funding for the health service on the Islands in view of the significant population increase and medical treatment given to foreign tourists, for which there is little financial return.

Today Balearic Health minister, Aina Castillo, will present her case to the central government minister of Health, Elena Salgado. Emphasis will be placed on the need to improve the level of financing of the health system in the Balearics to compensate for the well-documented population increase and the costs generated by medical treatment provided to foreign tourists. Following the first meeting of the Balearic Health Board, Castillo explained that she will also bring home to the new minister in Madrid the importance of reducing costs which are incurred in the health system simply by virtue of the fact that the Balearics are cut off from the mainland.

She indicated that the Islands' health system attends to the needs of a large number of citizens and foreign tourists for which the Balearic government “receives virtually no compensation”.

The minister signalled that during the interview with Elena Salgado, she will describe the state of the health situation in the Balearics and will urge her counterpart in Madrid to recognise “the need to improve the health system”.

The method already set up for financing “is, in the first instance, a good one” said Castillo, “but its development is dependent on our being able to bring in a number of other features to address the issue of extra cost”. “We're actually going through a difficult phase at the moment with regard to financing for the Balearic health system” furthered the minister. “It's not just a question of finding funding for today, but rather one of establishing a sustainable system”, she pointed out.

Castillo specified that her department allocated an annual sum of close to 150 million euros in pharmaceutical material, some 20 percent of the ministry's budget.

She felt there was an important step to be taken in improving efficiency and reducing costs in this sector, whilst “guaranteeing quality”.
Castillo highlighted the fact that the Health Advisory Board, comprising regional administration groups, both local and Island-wide; along with organisations which represent all health sector departments, operated on a basis of “dialogue and consensus”. “It is a maximum priority of this government to extend round-table discussions in the Health industry as far as possible”, confirmed Castillo.

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