Normal service at health centres from Monday. | Miquel A. Cañellas

The management council of health centre coordinators in the Balearics has decided that appointments with doctors at health centres should once more be the norm and that these should resume on Monday.

The system of consultations by phone was introduced last March. There have of course been face-to-face appointments, but the number has been greatly reduced. However, the experience of some health centres has been that a majority of phone consultations end up being face-to-face. The phone system has not been to the liking of either doctors or patients.

IB-Salut does intend keeping a system of phone appointments for matters that don't require a visit to a health centre, but from Monday the normal arrangement will once again apply. In Minorca and Ibiza this will be for all health centres. In Mallorca it will be progressive from May 17 to May 31. IB-Salut notes that a full resumption will depend on the characteristics of individual health centres.

From Monday, there will be three ways for making an appointment - online through the patient portal; by phoning a health centre; or by going to a health centre. In all cases there will still be a prior questionnaire to check if the appointment is Covid-related.

The phone system was introduced for the obvious reason of health security. Crowded waiting rooms were the last thing that the health service wanted. However, the system has had an impact on emergency centres, to which people have been going instead. The health minister, Patricia Gómez, has acknowledged that getting a balance has been "difficult".