That’s the new Health System of Greece: State Hospitals turn away parturient women without job or insurance and small income if they can’t pay in advance the price of €950 to €1500. According to daily Eleftherotypia, the managements of public hospitals in Athens, Thessaloniki, Rhodes and Rethymnon refused to admit women shortly before giving birth to a child, when they could not afford to pay the childbirth costs in advance. The new health system in Greece, the so-called ‘unified medical care system’ , in force since November 2011, provides that the pregnant woman must pay in advance the birth costs and then receive the childbirth allowance from the insurance funds. Under the list of Health Ministry a normal birth costs 950 EUR and a cesarean section 1,500 EUR. However as the birth allowance is only 600EUR there is a difference of 350-900 EUR the pregnant women should pay from their own pockets.
The incidents came to light after women organisations like “Women’s Initiative against debt and austerity measures” and “Non-aligned Women Movement” went public. “Childbirth can not be a privilege for the wealthy. It can’t be that Greece’s creditors put those women before the dilemma: If I pay, I give birth. If I can’t, I don’t!”.
With a delay of several days, the Minsitry of Labour & Social Security issued a circular in which it stated that the payment of this amount will not be required by the pregnant women in the future. However it left open the question of the difference between the amount of the price list of the Ministry of Health and the childbirth allowance.
The Women’s civic organizations demand that that labour in public hospitals should be free of charge given the sharp deteriotation in the living standards of many Greek households due to the economic crisis, the unemployment and the recession.
To this issue the Associations of State Hospitals Physicians issued a support statement.
PS I’m preparing a post about the impact of welfare and social benefits cuts. Hopefully it’s ready tomorrow.