Athens: Protesters attack Health Minister during hospital inspection

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Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis had to experience the outrage of protesting hospital personnel when he visited Attikon public hospital on Friday morning. The minister was allegedly verbally attacked and even punched in the face amid hurled water bottles and plastic coffee mugs.

Protesters had gathered at the hospital entrance, while riot police squads had taken position as early in the morning. Georgiadis had planned to visit Attikon hospital in western Athens and speak to the employees.Tension rose when Georgiadis started a conversation with the protesters.

Speaking to Vima FM, the health minister claimed that they were members of the “extreme left” and said that “a fascist minority would not prohibit me from doing my duty.”

“They verbally attacked me first, then one threw a coffee and another one even punched me in the face,” Georgiadis told Vima radio and underlined that he was not afraid to be confronted with the protesters. “I knew they were expecting me but I did not hide.”

Video: Heath minister talks with protesters, others chant “people do not bow your head, the only way is ressistance”

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Several unions of Attikon personnel had announced the protest days ago, condemning the conditions in the hospital and demanding hiring of additional personnel.  Greece’s health care sector was the first to suffer from the Troika imposed austerity in the debt-ridden country. A traditional practice by the IMF and thus worldwide: cutting expenses in the health sector.

With the latest bill voted by the coalition government partners Nea Dimocratia and PASOK, hospital personnel is afraid to be sent to ‘labor reserve’ and dismissed after 9 months. Furthermore, newly appointed health minister, a former bookseller on television, plans to bring the health care system upside down obviously creating even more troubles to already troubled Greek patients.

coming soon….

1) controllers from the private sector (?) will double check the treatments ordered and subscribed by hospital doctors.

2) for a hospital admission the patient will have to undergo checks in a local primary health care center first and receive an expert confirmation that he/she indeed needs a treatment at the hospital.

 if we won’t die in the streets, we will be happy to die waiting several weeks over two, three, four doctor’s  appointments to get rid of an inflammatory appendix

After the incident police accompanied Georgiadis inside the hospital through an underground entrance. He spoke to the gathered -apparently not protesting – hospital personnel.

His aides told media, that the minister return to his office with “red marks and visible signs of beating on the neck.”