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Greece’s Public Hospitals Refuse To Admit Poor Parturient Women

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.

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6 comments

  1. What’s wrong with this picture?

    -The children’s hospital near Pendeli: a friend went there with his child and it was treated for 5 euro. He has insurance and is not poor at all and he told me that everybody who comes there just has to pay this token 5 euro.

    -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.

    But, having “the Women’s civic organizations demand 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” is as crazy as the ‘Pendeli children’s hospital’ situation. Why should it be free for someone who is insured? They should instead indeed go after that difference between the amount of the price list of the Ministry of Health and the childbirth allowance. And let everybody who can pay pay.

    I have a second, but related ‘what’s wrong with this picture?’

    -Infant formula is 130% more expensive in Greek pharmacies than at their European counterparts.

    -The ministeries of Development and of Health came to an agreement with the owners of supermarkets and supplier companies to sell infant formula at a 20% reduction.

    Those who need to use infant formula have been robbed for years by paying 130% more than their collegue mothers in the rest of Europe. Now the government steps in. No not to get all those criminals in the courts. No they sit around the table with the producers and supermarkets and let them sell the stuff 110% above the price you would pay in the rest of Europe… *duh*

  2. Correction 20% of 130% is 104% 😳

  3. keeptalkinggreece

    Antonis, the fee of 5 euro was introduced last year in the context of austerity measures. Belive me there are people who can’t pay even this fee and need medical care. Why the insured have to pay extra? and further: those who can pay normally seek private hospitals becasue they offer a better service.
    I wrote on the infant formula on my What’s up in Greece of today.

  4. well lets be honest this is greek goverment policy at its usual. evey single law they come up with they dont think it through. they just see the result they think should happen and then they act surprised when reality strikes back. Logic dictates that since it costs so much to deliver a baby in hospital there are only a couple of options for people who want chldren. 1)not have children or emigrate if they ewant o have a family im guessing it might cost less ot take an aeroplane ticket and go to a european hospital to deliver a baby rather than give E950 (no hard maths just a hunch) or 2) use old fashioned midwives in their own home, like it used to be in every single village. on the plus side greeks not having babies will stop the brain drain eventually as there wont be any young people to leave the country. Ps i loved the budget vote, 250+ voted yes but nobody was there for the actual discussions. democracy at its best. if thats the case we dont really need MPs and pay for them they can stays in their homes do their own jobs and every time there is a vote they can phone in a yes or send a text message. that will save a lot of money. phew got my cynical rant out of the system that feels good

  5. keeptalkinggreece

    it’s not cynical, I hear more and more people proposing MPs to sit at home