The pandemic has highlighted the low ratio of nurses to head of population. | Miquel À. Cañellas


According to Maria José Sastre, the president of the Coiba College of Nursing in the Balearics, the islands have the lowest ratio of nurses per person in Spain. This is 5.5 per one thousand inhabitants, whereas the national average is 5.8.

Coiba also suggests that the ratio of nurses in Spain is the lowest in Europe. In other countries it is up to 16 or 17 per one thousand people. The pandemic has demonstrated, says Sastre, that the number is "not enough". She believes that the problem lies with education and training and a lack of professional health personnel in the Balearics. "If university places do not increase over the next seven to eight years, we will not have health staff."

The lack of nurses has influenced the work of Covid-19 tracers. Sastre explains that their work is not easy. The interview part and follow-up have to be done by health personnel. There is also an administrative element that Coiba feels should be done by others in order to allow the nurses to concentrate on the main task.

The regional ministry of health is meanwhile training new tracers. On Monday, a course for another thirty will start. The goal is to have 250 tracers in all.