Son Espases emergencies unit has been under particular pressure. | Miquel À. Cañellas

At an extraordinary meeting of the parliamentary health committee on Monday, Balearic health minister Patricia Gómez accepted that there have been times when hospital emergency units have been placed under "high pressure", especially Son Espases. But she also highlighted the capacity of the public health system to "successfully" cope with increased activity.

The greater pressure in July, she said, was due to a combination of increased Covid care and the demand placed on the health service because of tourism activity and the rise in the floating population. This pressure was similar to that at other times of the year, such as autumn and winter when there is an increase in the number of cases associated with respiratory diseases.

Hospitals, she added, have adapted their capacity to deal with greater pressure by following contingency plans, e.g. postponing scheduled activity.

Marga Duran of the opposition Partido Popular criticized the delay in Gómez appearing before the committee and stated that public health has been "overwhelmed, saturated and marginalised by the government". She argued that the government was unable to provide solutions and referred to the "despair" of unions, which have been critical of a shortage in personnel. There had been a "lack of foresight and poor planning" for the fifth wave of the virus, and this "bordered on negligence".

In response, the minister pointed to the 3,600 more professionals in the health service compared with January 2020 and stated that there had been a recovery of surgical and general healthcare activity thanks to Covid tests and the vaccination programme.