GOVERNMENT TAKES TOUGH LINE OVER DISPUTE

THIS week's work to rule by drivers for the Balearic Ambulance Association could cost the company its contract with the Insalud health service. Central government delegate Catalina Cirer fired the warning shot yesterday, saying that there is a judicial solution to the dispute which would involve the cancellation of the present contract and a new one put up for public tender. The past few days have seen a steady influx of ambulances from the mainland being driven by members of the Guardia Civil and the police and Insalud have managed to avoid the potential chaos which the work to rule could have caused in Majorca. Nevertheless, Cirer wants a “definitive” solution . “It is a fundamental situation, we must guarantee the sick care and ambulance services. It's a complicated and difficult situation, but as part of the administration responsible, we have no intention of ducking our responsibilities,” she said. The ambulance contract is worth around 1'000 million pesetas and Cirer is adamant that the figure, if well managed, is enough to ensure that all clauses of the contract are honoured. Cirer also quashed rumours that the head of Insalud, Javier Rodrigo de Santos would be forced to step down over the dispute. Cirer said that the problem has been caused by the ambulance company, not the health service. She said the ambulance company has given Insalud little option but to bring extra vehicles in from the mainland because if the Ambulance Association had not been working to rule and that less that the minimum 88 ambulances have been in operation, the extra ambulances would not have been needed. The ambulance company is demanding more ambulances on the grounds that they do not have enough to meet the demands of the public and have been claiming that the need for vehicles from the mainland proves their point.

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