Balearic health minister Aina Salom described yesterday as “an historical day because the region has more home rule than ever.” She was referring to the fact that it was the day the local government effectively took over full control of the national health service in the islands. Salom was speaking shortly before she started a tour of what up to the end of last year had been the headquarters of Insalud, which is now known as Ib-Salut. The minister, accompanied by Ib-Salut's manager Juli Fuster and Pablo Rivero, widely tipped to become director general of planning and finance, said that the management team had not been fully drawn up, and she was still studying which of the high ranking Insalud officials would remain in their posts. Salom said that taking over responsibility for the health service was a huge challenge, and would enable the coalition government to draw up policies for everyone from an administration which is close to all those who live in the archipelago. By visiting the former Insalud headquarters, where the management team of Ib-Salut is already in office, Salom said she wanted to “share her joy with all the functionaries,” and ask them “to help us do all our tasks better than ever.” Commenting on the criticism received because of the result of negotiations with the central government, she said that she was “moderately satisfied” with the 613 million euros (102'000 million pesetas) received for the health service. But she expressed her regret that the central government had seen fit to die down the transfer to acceptance of the new system of financing the autonomous regions.. She also regretted its refusal to provide the money for planned investments such as the new national health hospital in Inca. But Salom said that there was still a chance of obtaining more money, explaining that the Balearic government had never given up on the Special Regime for the Balearics which was approved in 1998 but has never been brought into service. It covered such matters as the cost of insularity and Salom said she would press for this to be taken into account to cover the cost of transferring patients or training staff, which she estimated at 8'000 million pesetas.

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