The British government has recruited hundreds of Spanish nurses and doctors to help the long suffering National Health Service. Unlike Britain, in Spain there are no shortages of nurses or doctors hence the exodus. But the new recruits are not happy judging by a conversation I had this week with the father of a Majorcan nurse now working in London. Conditions are so bad that many are planning to return home. Basically the Spanish nurses are baffled at their workload. In Spain nurses nurse the patient, in Britain they are required to do the same but also a series of auxiliary tasks which in Spanish hospitals are carried out by other people. In Spain, trained nurses are properly rewarded, but in Britain the new Spanish legion are not even happy with their monthly pay cheque. When you add poor working conditions and low pay you have a recipe for disaster and I think this could be one of the reasons why many Spanish nurses and doctors will return home. Perhaps, next time Mr. Blair travels to Madrid to see his old friend Jose Maria Aznar he might stop off at a Spanish hospital to see how the National Health Service functions here. Obviously, Britain could learn quite a lot. And also he might stop off at Madrid Central station. The Spanish government is investing thousands of millions of pesetas in connecting much of Spain with a high speed railway network. The services already operating are in direct competition with the Spanish airlines because trains are so fast and the service so efficient. Mr. Blair may think that the euro is top of his European agenda but perhaps he should start first with the European rail network and the health service. The rest of Europe is not streets ahead because of its currency.

Jason Moore

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