In Ibiza, there are rooms at an old hospital. | Arguiñe Escandón


Over the main months of the tourism season - June to September - additional personnel are drafted in to cover various public functions in tourism regions of Spain. While much attention is paid to police reinforcements, doctors are among others who are needed to meet increased demand for services and to provide holiday cover.

In Mallorca and the Balearics, this summer reinforcement can be problematic because of high costs of living and a shortage of affordable, temporary accommodation. There is additional compensation, but even this isn't always sufficient in making the islands an attractive destination for professionals.

In this regard, the president of the doctors union in the Balearics, Miguel Lázaro, is drawing attention to a scheme that has been adopted by Sanxenxo town hall in Galicia. A resort on the Atlantic, Sanxenxo (or Sangenjo) is one of Galicia's most important tourism centres, and the town hall has agreed to pay the rents of family doctors who go there between June 1 and September 30.

Lázaro applauds the idea and is asking for the scheme to be adopted in the Balearics, where the situation "is worse than in Galicia". "If the regional health ministry is unable to attract and retain doctors, as is being demonstrated, it could copy other regions."

"We are asking for a special strategy for the whole year and especially in summer, when there is much more demand for health services." Lazaró believes that prospects for this summer are not good. Waiting lists have been aggravated by the pandemic, while emergency departments have been dealing with historically high numbers in May.

"People come here for tourism excellence, for safety and because public health is a guarantee," stresses Lázaro. "But there is no planning, and so they will close beds. If Galicia can show the way, we should follow it."