17th Jun 2020 @ 9:12 am

Waiting lists for surgery at the Dr José Molina Orosa Hospital are 144 days, the second longest on the Canaries after Tenerife’s University Hospital.

A report by María José Lahora in Diario de Lanzarote shows that waiting lists were already increasing  before the coronavirus crisis, with more than 1,000 people joining the lists in the six months before January 2020. At the time, this was blamed on budget shortages by the recently- dismissed Canarian health councillor Teresa Cruz.

However, the coronavirus crisis has only made matters worse, suspending non-essential surgery for almost three months and reallocating budget funds. The average wait on the Canaries is now 133 days, one of the highest in Spain.

José Luís Aparicio, director of Lanzarote’s hospital, claims that activity has returned to normal since June but “the crisis has had an impact on everything.” He says that some departments, such as traumatology, have been worst-affected while others, such as digestion, are doing well.

Aparicio says another traumatologists has recently  been contracted and there is the possibility that two more will be hired. An intensive medicine specialist and a pulmonologist have been hired, along with two anesthetists, and an endocrinologist is being sought.

Quarantine quandary

The UK may not be included in the list of nationalities permitted to visit Spain without going into quarantine after June 21st, it was revealed yesterday.

On Sunday evening, the Spanish health ministry said that the UK would be included in the list despite not being a Schengen member because of the Brexit transition period. However, Spanish foreign minister Arancha González Laya yesterday told the BBC’s Hard Talk programme that UK visitors may still be subject to a 14-day quarantine period.

The problem is that Spain’s policy is intended to work reciprocally, and the UK will not lift its own compulsory quarantine period until June 28th, at the earliest. The high infection rates in the UK are also a cause for worry, and British tourists re already restricted from travelling to several other European countries as a result.

González Laya did not definitely say British visitors would be quarantined, however, and expressed the hope that  “by the time we open our borders, the UK would have moved forward also.”