Catalan Language Sparks Ibiza Health Crisis

The Balearic governments obsession with public workers speaking Catalan has reached crisis level at Ibiza’s Can Misses hospital.

3 weeks ago the Balearic Health Board approved a decree with a minimum requirement of the Catalan language to be able to work in the Balearic health service which has caused many non-Catalan speakers to consider their position.

Although 75% of the trade unions voted against, the decree was passed thanks to a single vote in favor by the current socialist government led by PSOE’s Francina Armengol with the support of MÉS and the left wing Podemos.

With this strict new language criteria coupled with the continuing housing problems some health professionals have decided to move away from the island rather than study Catalan.

Neuropediatrician Ileana Antón from Argentina is one such example: “I’m not against Catalan, I am against it being a requirement to get a job, it is against my principles that I am valued in a different way because I do or don’t speak a language”.

Anton continued: “To put it as a requirement seems to me to be a supreme level of ignorance. Those who are managing public health are doing it from their ideology and not thinking about whether the service is quality for patients”.

Anton’s boss Bartolomé Boned, is from Ibiza and he thinks the same, lamenting that it’s difficult enough already to attract trained professionals without putting any further obstacles in the way: “it’s going to be even more difficult because we’re creating a problem where there wasn’t one”. Only 5 out of 7,000 complaints received by the Balearic public health service were because the professional did not know how to speak Catalan.

“The language of a doctor are the signs and symptoms of diseases,” believes Ileana: “If Messi doesn’t have to speak Catalan to play for Barça, I don’t know why I do to be a doctor In ibiza”.

The sad truth is that 18 emergency service physicians have left the island in the last 7 months and currently there are 8 vacancies with little hope of filling them. Most of the 21 professionals who work in this service do so with a temporary contract, none are from the Balearics and only 2 currently have the required level of Catalan. Meanwhile there are waiting times of up to 8 hours in the emergency room. “The situation is critical” said Anton.

Source: El Mundo

Author: Martin Makepeace

Englishman living and working in Ibiza since 1991. Entrepreneur with a passion for villas, boats, sunsets and San Antonio. Read my blogs, listen to my podcasts and catch me on Radio One Mallorca every Tuesday morning.

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