Balearic health minister Aina Salom denied yesterday that the casualty ward at Son Dureta hospital had collapsed under pressure, and described a waiting list of 21 patients, as registered on Thursday morning, as “normal pressure.” She was speaking at the presentation of the three new director generals of her department, which now has full responsibility for the national health service in the Balearics. She said that she understood the concern of the man on the street over the shortage of beds in Son Dureta while the city's second national health hospital, Son Llàtzer (also known as Palma II), is not yet fully operational, but she called for people to stay calm and be patient, as the new manager of Palma II, Josep Pomar, will not take office until Monday. Salom also pointed out that the programme of collaboration signed by Insalud (the central health service) and the Red Cross is still valid, so that beds at the Red Cross hospital can be used in cases such as a flu epidemic, although she was quick to point out that at the moment there was no such epidemic in the Balearics. Salom said that up to the moment it had not been necessary to suspend any operations because of a shortage of blood (see adjacent article). The three new director generals are Margarita Buades for public health, Vicent Thomás for evaluation and accreditation and Joan Serra for Pharmacy. Their appointments were approved yesterday. The other director generals are Pablo Rivera for planning and finance, and Miguel Angel Cabeza, consumer affairs.

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