There is said to be chaos at Son Llàtzer emergencies. | Miquel À. Cañellas


A month ago, the Balearic health ministry ended an arrangement whereby foreign tourists were being referred to emergencies at private clinics rather than at public health hospitals.

The president of the Simebal doctors union, Miguel Lázaro, says that he doesn't fully understand why this agreement was allowed to lapse. "It was reasonable and effective, given a shortage of doctors and high demand."

It was a measure adopted during the pandemic. This having passed would seem to be the reason why it has been dropped. Lázaro hopes that the new government will revive it. Admission of tourists to emergencies at the public health hospitals creates a great overload. "By eliminating a measure that was working, it looks like they don't care."

The emergencies department at Son Llàtzer Hospital is typical of the situation. According to a hospital source, the number of cases is causing chaos. The department is full with "many drunk foreigners" and ones who have been involved in fights or taken overdoses. Alcohol poisoning is the main reason for admission.

Demand on emergencies grows by at least ten per cent in summer, Lázaro adding that the overload is chronic but that it was "predictable and preventable". In this regard, he is critical of the closure of beds and the mismanagement of summer staffing, while noting that up to 40% of patients could be treated at primary care emergencies, the PACs.