Up to fifty people at the call centre. | Jaume Morey

From July 1, there will be a major change to how appointments are made at health centres in Mallorca. The IB-Salut health service is currently finalising systems at a call centre on the Can Valero industrial estate in Palma. This facility was established as the Covid call centre. It will now be used to filter calls for primary care appointments and will be staffed by up to fifty specially trained advisors under the supervision of a nurse, Albert Ríos.

From the first of July, the call centre - InfoSalut is the name - will operate every day from 7am to 9pm. Calls to 971 220 000 will be answered by this centre. The director for primary care, Miquel Caldentey, says that 80% of calls at present are to ask for an appointment with a doctor. But there are many which don't require a visit to the doctor. It is often the case that an appointment with a nurse is more appropriate or that the call is an administrative issue.

Seven health centres have been involved with a pilot project since April. "This has gone very well, so we want to use it for all outpatient clinics." Caldentey explains that 30% of consultations are bureaucratic issues that administrative staff can resolve. The change will free up doctors' time and reduce delays in seeing a doctor when this really is necessary.

An information campaign will be launched shortly, an intention being that patients stop calling their health centres directly, as these calls are in any event often dealt with centrally. Caldentey notes that people will still have the option of going to their health centre in person, "but what we want is that phones are not constantly ringing, so that we can better attend in person". He adds that there will be different routes for calls, "as we want improved management of flows in health centres". "The pandemic has taught us that this is the best way to improve care."