A new rapid reaction medical force for the Balearics was unveiled yesterday, with ten mobile units which will be on standby to treat patients unable to get to clinics and hospitals, while also providing regular medical services to towns and villages without their own medical facilities. Balearic Chief Minister Francesc Antich and the Minister for Health, Aina Salom, presented the new service and the ten specially-equipped vehicles in Palma. Each vehicle will carry a medical team including a general practitioner and be able to respond to all types of emergencies, and also provide regular medical attention to isolated communities and patients with physical disabilities or serious illnesses. The mobile units will also help deter patients with minor ailments from rushing to hospitals instead of using their local medical facilities. The rapid reaction medical teams will be connected to the 061 emergency telephone number. Telephone staff will assess each situation as it comes in and either contact the patient's local GP or send one of the mobile units, depending on the severity of the case. The new scheme will come into operation in Majorca next month with Minorca and Ibiza being brought into the programme after the summer. The ten special vehicles cost nearly two million pesetas each and the Balearic government has invested over 30 million in the mobile medical force. Majorca will be served by eight of the vehicles with Minorca and Ibiza being allocated one each. Majorca will be divided up into eight zones, one for each mobile team. Each unit will cover an area of between nine and 17 kilometres and a population of between 20'000 and 40'000 people. While the Balearic government has covered the costs of setting up the service, the annual running costs of just over 50 million pesetas with be shared with the local health authority.

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