Surgery at Son Espases Hospital in Palma. | Teresa Ayuga

The federation of associations for the defence of public health has issued a report in which it categorises the Balearic health service as deficient.

The federation's survey assesses the health services in the different regions of Spain according to criteria of: health spend per head of population; the number of hospital beds; the ratio of surgeons, doctors and nurses to the population; waiting lists; public satisfaction; and the level of privatisation.

It mainly uses data from 2014 and 2015 with some from this year. The report suggests, therefore, that there has been a moderation of results in some regions because of changes in regional governments.

The range of values assigned to the criteria is from a minimum of 26 to a maximum of 106. Putting them together, the region with the best health service is Navarre with a score of 83. It is followed by Aragon and the Basque Country which both have 82. These three regions have the "best" services, while there is a group of regions classified as "normal" and then a third group considered to be "deficient". The Balearics is one of these regions with a score of 60. There is a fourth group described as "poor" that comprises Catalonia and Murcia with 55, the Canaries with 49 and Valencia on 46.

The report stresses the the "clearly excessive" discrepancy of 37 points between the best and worst regions. The disparity, it suggests, has been longstanding, with the Canaries and Valencia having been at the bottom of the list since 2009, while the top five places have been occupied by the same regions.

The federation argues that public health services have come under continuous assault in the form of cutbacks since 2009. There have been reductions to budgets in all regions, albeit the amounts have varied considerably.