By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
BALEARIC doctors and medical personnel continued their protests over pay conditions outside Son Dureta hospital yesterday while the regional Minister for Health, Vicenç Thomas unveiled a 129.7 million euro investment package for the Balearic IB-Salut national health service.

Thomas, the target of most of the complaints by angry doctors, urged the Balearic Doctors Union to come up with some “realistic proposals” which can be discussed at the next round of negotiations and serve to bring an end to the industrial action which may continue until the end of this month.

In the meantime, Thomas announced that the 130 million euros are going to be invested in improving and modernising the existing network of hospitals and neighbourhood medical centres and constructing a new hospital in Ibiza.

Contracts for the construction of new medical centres in Andratx, Inca and Pollensa and the expansion of the clinics in Rafal Nou, Son Gotleu and El Terreno are also going to be put up for tender this year.

There are 12 new medical centres already under construction and Thomas said that next year, a further 16 new neighbourhood medical centres will be built, including a second centre in Manacor, and a further six existing will be completely renovated and extended as IB-Salut sets about investing in a modern health care system which is more than capable of coping with the needs of the Balearics' growing population. Construction of the new Son Espases hospital in Palma is “running to schedule” according to Thomas who explained that none of the latest investments will be spent on the new project.

The minister said that Son Espases will not be paid for until construction has been completed.
A new hospital would have helped the health service over come the problems caused by the rolling medical strike.
Hundreds of operations have been postponed along with thousands of specialist appointments.
According to Ib-Salut, all have been rescheduled to take place over the next three weeks with the private health sector stepping in to help ease the burden on the national health service and clear the back log.