Some Catalan hospitals are planning to reduce their services by up to 40 percent in the summer as part of an effort to save money (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The Generalitat's health department has said that its cost-cutting programme will be prepared by this Thursday, which will indicate which services, surgeries and diagnostic tests will be cut altogether or see their activity reduced; certain salaries may be reduced and bonuses cut, and there will also be the cancellation of non-emergency operations during three months in the summer and some wards will be closed entirely between July and September. On Monday 4th April, once the health department's plans have been studied, the Catalan Health Service will meet and decide the definitive actions to be taken in the coming months, ie. exactly which activities will be cancelled and reduced. While the moves will affect all hospitals across the region, the nine hospitals that belong to the Institut Català del Salut (ICS) are likely to see a higher rate of services affected; it's forecast that they will have three times more surgeries suspended than in recent summers, between 40 and 50 percent of non-urgent surgeries, and there will be the consequential closure of beds, with an average of 12 floors of beds in each hospital being out of use. The move will also see a reduction of 1,300 nurses who would normally be hired to cover annual leave.
The number of foreigners registered as resident in Barcelona has fallen for the second consecutive year (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The official census of residents in the city shows that immigrants living here fell by 6,312 in 2010; the total of registered foreigners in Barcelona is now 278,320, which is around 17 percent of the total city population. The statistics have been released by the Ajuntament following a study of the figures from the census (padron) for last year. In 2009, there was also a decrease in the number of foreigners living here. Pakistanis now make up the largest group of foreigners in the city, ahead of Italians and Ecuadorians for the first time; there are 23,000 Pakistanis resident in Barcelona, an increase of 4,200 from 2009. This trend is the reverse of that concerning South American countries, whose Barcelona residents have been dropping in numbers in recent times.
Groups of Romanian pickpockets, the most prevalent operating on the Barcelona metro system, have been recruiting thieves from Eastern Europe to bring to Catalunya and train up to carry out crimes here (read article in Catalan here, Avui).The groups have between six and nine members, and they are apparently looking to increase their numbers: on the one hand, to improve their methodology and increase the number of metro stations and lines that they can target, according to the Catalan police. It is calculated that around a million people use the Barcelona metro every day, amongst them 30 groups of pickpockets, the majority of whom are from Romania and operate on Lines 1 and 3 in the city centre, between Passeig de Gràcia and Poble Sec; line 5 is also becoming a target for the thieves, especially around the Sagrada Familia station, following the connecting passageway between lines 3 and 5 at Diagonal station. The Mossos say that despite new recruitments, the number of pickpockets has been fairly consistent at 150 for five years because growing political pressure has seen some groups forced to move to other European cities, including Madrid, Paris and Valencia.