Palma.—This summer, Majorca's Ib-salut national health service could face a shortage of beds with patients having to wait even longer for an operation.

Yesterday, the Secretary General of the Balearic medical union Satse, Jorge Tera, revealed that, included in the regional government's austerity programme are plans to reduce the number of hospital beds available at Son Espases during the peak summer months of July, August and September by 150 and slash the number of non urgent operations by 50 percent.

Massive waiting lists
Apparently, Son Espases bosses informed staff yesterday of this latest round of cuts and Tera said that the measures will lead to a significant growth in the already “massive” waiting list and patients will have to wait even longer for operations.

However, the government has not only targetted Son Espases.
Tera claims that this summer, there could be a total shortfall of over 300 hospital beds and underlined that since the economic crisis hit, over a similar number of nurses have quit the health service.

Tera described the past few days of cuts as a “full frontal attack” on the public health service, the professionals who work for it and its users, the general public and warned that the health service is not going to take these latest cuts sitting down. “We are now all having to pay the price for mistakes which should have been rectified years ago, but now the price is much higher than it would have been if these issues had been addressed by previous administrations,” Tera said. “The Balearic health service is disintegrating and we can see the next step being the privatisation of some of the national health hospitals,” he added. “We are having to work double shifts while being expected not only to look after the patients as best we can but also the health service as whole. We simply can't continue like this.

Protest action “Until now, we've acted professionally because of our responsibilities but over the next few days we will be meeting with senior members of the Medical Union to analyse and discuss the situation and decide upon what protest measures we can take,” Tera said.

The Balearic President, Jose Ramon Bauza, came under further fire from opposition politicians yesterday.
Biel Barcelo, the parliamentarian for the PSM-IV-ExM coalition proclaimed that the Balearics is the region of Spain which has suffered the harshest cuts. “I'm sure there are other steps the government could have taken to closing two hospitals. “None of the cuts make any sense and they are making the worst decisions possible. They are strangling the Balearics,” he said.
Parliamentary spokesperson for the Balearic Socialist party, Francina Armengol accused Bauza of using “scare” tactics to change the Balearic benefit and welfare system. “But all he is doing is making people angry and fueling the mounting tension on the streets and he is in danger of seeing that boil over,” she warned.

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