Palma.—Minister Carmen Castro was speaking yesterday at the unveiling of a set of sculptures in the Children's unit at Son Espases hospital in Palma. She said that there had been a sudden surge in the number of people requiring Emergency attention at the hospital's A&E unit which had forced the opening of a ward and required the support of 14 nursing staff and a further 14 auxiliaries. “The number of people waiting for attention is gradually diminishing,” she said. In the last few days, there had been a gradual build up of Emergency cases in the A&E unit and on Tuesday 354 people queued for help. Of these, 13 percent were in need of further treatment and found hospital beds . “This meant another 60 people had to be accommodated as in-patients,” said the Managing Director at Son Espases, Juan Sanz yesterday. He said that the “overload” in A&E had been solved by the opening of a ward with beds for 25 and which could if needed be enlarged to accommodate 36.

Castro justified the fact that the ward had not already been opened by saying that everything had been ready for it to go into public service but then the cold snap arrived so everything was put on hold until Tuesday when there had been a sudden surge in patients. Meanwhile, nursing union SATSE warned that cuts in staff will lead to serious shortfalls in quality of care and that it would take legal action against hospital management were an incident to take place as a result.