STAFF REPORTER

MADRID
BALEARIC Minister for Health, Vicens Thomas, said yesterday that the averge waiting time for a hospital operation in the Islands is 55 days, significantly lower than the national average of 68 days.

Central government Health Minister Bernat Soria said yesterday, however, that this “68 days” is six less than in December last year and the lowest “waiting list” time in the country since 2003.

Soria, speaking at the opening of a National Health conference, said that the patients who have to wait the most time are those wanting plastic surgery, heart or paediatric surgery. These cases may mean delays of up to 81 days. From another perspective, people wanting operations for skin conditions and ophthalmology didn't have to wait as long as the statutory 68 days.

In spite of the shortened waiting lists, the Minister was cautious above “excessive optimism” and suggested that it may be more a case of a “discreet downturn” - indeed, he said, research showed that the last time waiting lists started growing, it consisted more of a “slight upturn” rather than an issue of “serious delays.” Soria added that trends in shortening waiting lists often had more to do with the administrative skills of hospital managers and their staff at a regional level than it did with a decline in the number of people who needed treatment.

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