Palma.—The new Health Minister in the Balearic government, Antoni Mesquida had said shortly after taking office last month that if the workers and management of the hospital could come up with a reliable financial plan to keep the Joan March hospital open, then there would be no need for the government to close it.

However, amidst increasing tension yesterday at the hospital, unions representing the health workers - including the General Workers Union (UGT) and the Workers Commission (CCOO) - agreed that the so-called “rescue plan” for the hospital was merely an attempt by the government to place the responsibility it should be assuming of its own accord on the shoulders of workers and management.

UGT's Health spokesperson Aurora Lopez said that the workers trying to save the Joan March hospital don't have the appropriate competence or the legal power to decide on matters such as personnel redundancies. She said it was an issue that should be debated directly between the Health Ministry and the regional Health Board.

She pointed out that the so-called rescue plan involved eliminating more jobs than had been contemplated under the government's wider health cuts.
T he CCOO urged the government to present evidence of waiting lists so that a proper assessment of how an efficiency drive in the Balearic health system could best be executed.