In the Balearics there are 5.3 nurses for every 1,000 residents. The European average is around nine, and so the Nurses Union calculates that there is a need for some 3,500 more.
The union says that there is a shortage of 2,400 nurses for public health hospitals and health centres. The number of nurses in the public health service is around the national average in terms of the population ratio. However, the situation in the private health care sector is said to be worse. The union's secretary, Litha Otero, explains that this situation is meaning that nursing auxiliaries are performing tasks that they shouldn't be.
In the public health sector, Otero points to the increasing need for nurses to make home visits. "This is where there are real deficiencies and a lack of personnel. Nurses see patients in their consulting rooms. It's an old health model that we are unable to change."
Otero adds that the union presented a national report in 2017 which identified that a half of nurses were suffering from burnout. This report also revealed that seven out of ten nurses felt that care given to patients in the public health sector had deteriorated. One of the main reasons given was a lack of personnel.
In Denmark, Otero observes, the nursing ratio is 16.9 per 1,000 people. In Ireland it is 11.9. The ratios in Spain and the Balearics are far short of these. "No political party has dared to legislate in order to deal with this. The years go by and no action is taken."