Staff Reporter

PALMA
A total of 223'313 foreigners now have the IB-Salut health card which allows them access to the public health system on the islands.
Of these 223'313 foreigners, 179'590 are workers paying Social Security contributions and 43'723 are without resources.
The increase in the number of foreigners with the IB-Salut health card has increased by 20'351 (16.4 percent) in comparison with 2006.
The total amount of health cards in circulation in the Balearics is 1'031'606, 4.1 percent more than a year ago when the total number of cards given by the Balearic Islands health service was 990'527.

During 2007 the Balearic Government will assign 14 percent more money to the health service than the amount given by the State under the existing financial arrangement, which is calculated taking into account the State's tax income. This means 146 million euros more for this service, bringing the total to 1'060 million euros for the 2007 budget. According to IB-Salut, this imbalance comes from a financing system which does not take into account the great increase in population which the islands have had during the last five years.

In fact, the Balearic Government calculates that public health expenditure per person is more than 1'000 euros.
IB-Salut is currently in the process of changing the health card. The change, which will be gradual, started in May and so far 25'000 new health cards have been issued on the islands.

The new health cards are being issued as the old cards expire. The new card is dark blue and has on it the new corporate image of the Balearic Government.

An important point to be taken into account by citizens is that you have always to present your health card, whether it is the old or the new one, when you attend a hospital or health centre, because it is the tool which identifies the patient and gives access to their clinical history.

Shortly, it will be the way to obtain medicines prescribed by your doctor, as the electronic prescription service is planned to come into effect this year on all the islands. At the moment it is only available on Ibiza and Formentera.

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