Representatives of the Medical Profession Forum in the Balearics. | Jaume Morey

The Simebal doctors union in the Balearics estimates that the IB-Salut health service needs ninety more specialists and another one hundred doctors (at least) in order to comply with European ratios of doctors per head of population. For paediatric care, the Family Paediatric Society says that half of the positions are not covered by specialists.

This is not a new problem, but it became more evident because of the pandemic. In response, the national health ministry approved a decree which allowed doctors to practise without having approved qualifications and facilitated the movement of doctors to other areas without taking their specialities into account. While this decree is designed to address shortages, professional bodies such as Simebal argue that it could put the health of patients at risk.

Representatives of different bodies which constitute the Medical Profession Forum in the Balearics have called for the immediate withdrawal of the ministry's decree. The president of the College of Doctors, José Manuel Valverde, insists that the public "have the right to be treated by doctors trained in their country".

The forum states that medical training in Spain is among the best in the world. But this isn't matched by the working conditions. As a result, when doctors finish their training, some prefer to work abroad, and this has led to the shortage of specialists.