During May, an average of around 50,000 vaccines were being administered each week. Over the first week of June this number will have doubled. More vaccines are being supplied, but they are arriving at a time when the health service experiences staff difficulties because of holidays.
In order to achieve the target of reaching immunization of 70% of the population, the health service is having to deal with what is a chronic shortage of nurses. Different solutions are being found. One is the re-employment of retired nurses under the age of 70; another is that there will be around 100 student nurses graduating in the middle of June.
In the Balearics, the ratio of nurses to population is 5.5 for every 1,000 people; one of the lowest in the country. The SATSE nurses union says that conditions offered in the Balearics are not the most favorable. There are more nursing jobs available this summer because of Covid, the general secretary of the union, Jorge Tera, explains, but requirements are still not being met.
He that there should be a register of volunteers for the holiday periods. “There are people who are willing to do extra shifts,” he notes, adding that the private sector also needs to be sounded out.
The president of the College of Nurses in the Balearics, Maria José Sastre, agrees that there is a chronic shortage. This is being aggravated by the vaccination program, the need for cover and for nurses to have time off. She accepts that there has never been 100% summer cover but points out that “we can’t neglect all the activity that is being recovered after a year or so, such as face-to-face consultations and surgery”.