THE Balearic Ministry for Health is to pump the best part of eight million pounds into its summer operation this year.
A scorching summer is being forecast with temperatures reaching the record set just two years ago and yesterday, the regional minister for health Aina Castillo unveiled an 11.5 million euro (£8 million) summer health operation. The Balearics is working in close co-operation with central government and the met office on a new emergency warning system in the event of heat waves over the next four months. The met offices are going to be providing the government with as much advanced warning as possible about sudden rises in temperatures and will issue green (level 0) to red (level four and high risk) warnings. Level 1 alert will be activated if, over a period of five days, the minimum and maximum temperatures have risen about the 21.6ºC and 35.2ºC benchmarks.
Level 2 will kick in if those temperatures have been breached for three or four days and the country will move up to level 3 in the event of a major heat wave lasting more than five days. Here in the Balearics the bulk of the cash, 10.5 million euros, is going to be spent on recruiting an extra 2.432 medical staff to maintain maximum staffing levels at all clinics and hospitals during the holiday period. The summer operation, which started last week on June 1 and terminates at the end of the September, has been set up to make sure that all the region's medical centres and emergency services have the necessary staff to primarily deal with heat-related symptoms, especially children and the elderly. The health service will also be closely monitoring the regional ambulance services with cash set aside if more ambulances are needed on the roads as the summer reaches its peak. Already, the ambulance services in Palma, Portocristo, San Antonio (Ibiza) and Can Picafort have been increased and all of the islands' emergency services will have the support and back up of a flying medical team. Balearic health service chief Sergio Bertrán said yesterday that for the duration of the summer, the traffic police helicopter will be carrying a doctor and nurse in order to provide immediate aid in the event of a serious traffic, mountain or beach accidents.
But, while the ministry hopes that everything will be in place in the event of an accident, a summer prevention campaign is to be launched shortly drawing people's attention to the dangers of the heat and what steps can, and should, be taken to protect against them. The elderly, chronically ill and children are going to be the prime targets of the awareness campaign which will involve blanket media publicity.
The Baleraric minister for health Aina Castillo explained yesterday that the main advice is to quite simply drink plenty of liquid, avoid heavy meals and to wear loose comfortable clothes in order to avoid heat stroke. However, people will be given advice on how to keep food fresh and avoid food poisoning, in particular salmonella.
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