HEALTH care given to tourists who come to the Balearics costs nearly five million euros a year, according to a study by IB-Salut of the year 2003, which confirms that the total cost of treating foreigners was 4'801'971 euros. This cost, which the Balearic Ministry for Health has always said “should be paid by the State”, and which they say is 11.4 million euros, corresponds to the expense incurred by the health system for the treatment of citizens of other countries during the years 2002, 2003 and 2004. In spite of that, the Spanish Ministry for Health has only given the Balearics four million euros during this period for the health care of foreigners.
This study reveals that the major part of the expense is for keeping foreigners in hospital, and that the only source of financial aid for the Balearics is from the Cohesion Fund. In addition to this, the report says that 38 percent of the bill was for treating Germans and 35 percent for treating the British.
Another big inequality which emerges from this report is that the Primary Health Care services carry out 53 percent of the activity (treating foreigners), yet only receive 8 percent of the money, while keeping people in hospital, which represents just 12 percent of the activity, receives 73 percent of the money which the Spanish Ministry of Health gives for this purpose. Another figure which the report gives is that the amount given by the Spanish Ministry for Health covers only 41.12 percent of the total bill for treating foreigners, the other 58.88 percent has to be paid by IB-Salut.
Elsewhere, Doctor Alfonso Ballesteros, President of the Royal Academy of Medicine in the Balearics (RAMIB) said that “obesity is a health problem because it causes an increase in disease and death among those who suffer from it. The treatment of its complications account for between 5 and 10 percent of the total health costs of western countries”.
RAMIB has organised some “Days about obesity”, running until November 4, in conjunction with the Balearic Ministry of Health, the Iberoamerican Pharmacy Academy and the National Health System's Interterritorial Council.


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