Doctors at health centres in Majorca say that they are overwhelmed and fear that the situation will worsen once the real impact of the return to school is known. In addition, respiratory illness will begin to increase with the onset of autumn.
A health centre doctor and spokesperson for the Simebal doctors union, Vicente Reyes, says that although IB-Salut will be introducing measures designed to ease workloads, these will not be enough. He estimates that between 250 and 300 more GPs are needed.
Reyes explains that around sixty patients can be attended to every day. This is through a combination of appointments, consultations by phone, and emergency cases. "The list of tasks increases throughout the day. Monday is the worst day of the week." He adds that telephone calls are difficult, as doctors have to go to great effort to make sure that patients have understood what they have been saying.
The high workload can extend the working day by as much as two hours. "Except for the first three weeks of the pandemic, we have been overwhelmed. But over the past month and a half the situation has worsened considerably."
Thirty-six health centres in Majorca, he notes, are still involved in contact tracing. In Palma, nine centres are no longer having to do this. Doctors are also having to process sick leave for close contacts, something that they will be relieved of, while testing at PACs will be discontinued. "The bureaucracy because of Covid is enormous; there is a massive amount of paperwork."
Despite these tasks being taken away, there is the worry about increased workload in the autumn. However, the flu is not expected until late January, and it is expected that the incidence will be lower this year because of an earlier start to vaccination - this will be in October. The mandatory use of masks will also help to reduce the spread of colds and flu.
Reyes says that older people are no longer as anxious as they were about going to health centres. They are wanting to be treated, and many of them have chronic complaints that have not been attended to as they should be.