Just under 40% of the students on the first medical degree course are from the Balearics. | Miquel Angel Cañellas

An average of sixty medical students per year pursue their studies away from the Balearics. The University of the Balearic Islands believes that its new faculty of medicine will make a difference in allowing students to stay.

The first course in medicine - it is being taught at Son Espases Hospital - has 62 students. Of these, 24 are from the Balearics - 23 from Majorca and one from Ibiza. Otherwise, there are twelve students from Andalusia, while the remaining 26 are divided among eleven other regions of the country. The intake is predominantly female - 52 out of the 62. There were 2,100 initial requests for enrolment in the course.

The university's rector, Llorenç Huguet, who has long supported the founding of the faculty, believes that it will add to the quality and prestige of the university and also improve medical research in the Balearics. The education and university minister, Martí March, believes that the medical studies represent an investment in training and that such investment can never be considered to be negative.

The Balearic parliament had unanimously approved the plan for medical studies back in November 2008. The hope then was similar to as it is now - to add prestige and to promote research. An agreement to introduce a degree in medicine was reached in July 2010: the university and the health and education ministries were signatories to it.

The current government is the one that has pressed for the faculty to be established. It didn't have unanimous support, however. Podemos opposed it not on educational grounds but by arguing that money could be better invested in other ways.