Security guards at Son Espases. | Julio Bastida


In the early hours of Sunday morning, security at Son Espases Hospital had to deal with a homeless man who was in the maternity unit. There was a confrontation during which he told guards: "This is a public place. You can't kick me out. You can't touch me."

With the aid of the National Police, they did kick him out, after he had been made to collect his belongings. These were at an information desk that he had occupied.

Some time later he returned to emergencies where he wanted to be treated as a patient. He spent the rest of the night in the waiting room. Pretending to require treatment has become a common strategy deployed by homeless people who seek to spend the night in the hospital.

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Security regularly has to contend with individuals who enter areas of restricted access, and not just the maternity unit. The plan now is to install access controls at the entrance to emergencies to try and prevent homeless people entering in order to sleep overnight.

For those who pretend to be ill, security guards will stop them carrying personal belongings into the hospital. They will be accompanied to be seen by a doctor or nurse and then escorted from the premises. The National Police will carry out checks against police and court records.

The hope is that there can be an end to the increasing problems caused by homeless people at Son Espases, especially in emergencies and the radiology area, where they use the showers and waiting rooms. Outside the hospital, there are some shanties in a parking area, a number of the homeless being drug addicts and alcoholics who don't want help from social services.