Greek Health Ministry to Deliberately Cut Pensions of Patients at Psychiatric Clinics

Posted by in Economy, Society

 I can’t believe what I am reading here. And this I can tell you right away: It is one of the most horrible nightmares, when a state exploits those who cannot defend themselves and deliberately proceeds to actions that should be illegal in any democratic country. 

Money-broke Greek Health Ministry is about to cut pensions of patients of psychiatric clinics and use the ‘saved’ money to bolster operating costs. The plan foresees the reduction of patient’s pensions on a sliding scale, with pension of 500 euros to be cut 50%, pensions of 700 euros by 70% and pensions of over 700 euro to be trimmed down by 80%. 

Clinics personnel oppose the ministry’s plans saying that they’re asked to turn into revenue collectors as they will have to get the consent of these patients so that the sick health ministry puts its long arm into the income of such patients.

Open is the question what consent patients with heavy psychiatric illnesses will or could give or who will protect their rights.

 Nurses’ ire over patient pensions

A state plan to reduce the pensions of patients of psychiatric clinics and use the money to bolster operating costs, which was reportedly prepared by the Health Ministry last year but is yet to be enforced, has triggered protests by employees at the units who claim they are being obliged to collaborate in securing the patients’ consensus for the cuts.

The plan foresees the reduction of patients’ pensions on a sliding scale, Kathimerini understands, with pensions of 500 euros to be cut 50 percent, pensions of 700 euros by 70 percent and pensions over 700 euros per month to be slashed by 80 percent.

It remains unclear whether the plan is in fact legal. “It goes against Article 21 of the Constitution, on the protection of health,” Vassilis Papadopoulos, a lawyer familiar with the matter, told Kathimerini. “It violates the principle of equality and proportionality as it withholds money on a graded scale as is the case with the tax offices,” he said, adding that the changes also ignored the “nursing needs of different individuals.”

As the pension holder’s consensus is required before the amount can be withheld, workers at the clinic claim they are being put in a difficult, and unethical, position. “We are people whom the patients look to and trust,” said Panos Papadopoulos of the union representing staff at psychiatric clinics. “Now we’re being asked to become revenue collectors,” he said. (Kathimerini)

It is not clear from the article whether the plan to forcefully ‘deprive’ psychiatric patients from their rights and income has to be voted and approved by the Greek Parliament as a bill. Of course, it would need the cooperation of insurance funds as well as from other ministries like Labour (for pensions) and Finance (income tax declaration).

PS where is this PASOK health minister, who prepared such a plan? He probably sits at the back seats of the parliament, an average MP among others…