Son Llàtzer Hospital ICU, Palma. | M. À. Cañellas

Around 2,400 patients in the Balearic Islands have been waiting more than six months for an operation.

In April 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic was at its peak, the number of patients waiting more than six months for surgery increased by 223.5%.

There are 12,676 people waiting for surgery, compared to 12,465 in 2019, an increase of 1.69%, which is understandable since during the State of Emergency the only medical consultations were for urgent cases and those that could be resolved on the telephone.

But the length of time that patients have to wait for operations has doubled from 77.86 days last year to 4 months, on average.

Now that the pandemic has abated, surgeons are trying to catch up and aim to carry out 3,500 operations by the end of June, 1,000 more than in May. By comparison, in January and February of this year, more than 5,000 operations were carried out in Public Hospitals in the Balearic Islands.

First consultation

The latest data shows the gradual paralysis of the health system as coronavirus became a priority. The only indicator that fell was how long patients waited for their first consultation with a Specialist, due to the fact that only urgent and oncological cases were being attended to.

In April there were 38,308 people waiting for their first visit with a Specialist, 14.03% less than the same month last year when there were 44,562, but patients now have to wait 89.24% longer, on average, than a year ago and it takes more than two months to be seen by the doctor, compared to one month in 2019.

The waiting time continues to skyrocket and at least 21,180 people will wait more than three months to see a Specialist for the first time, compared to 7,239 patients who waited that long in 2019.

Basic Health Units

Most of the Basic Health Units, or UBS, will reopen this week except for the Molinar, which is where the Flying Coronavirus Care Units, or UVAC are stationed and case surveillance and close contact tracking is coordinated.

The UBS at the General Hospital is under construction and some others are not opening because they’re still being used as express Covid-19 units and Escorca will remain closed because of low demand.