Employees at Dromokaitio, the Athens state hospital for mentally ill decided to block the entrance for new patients claiming the hospital was overcrowded and there was no place for new admissions. With trowel and cement blocks, protesting employees started to build a wall right in the entrance of the hospital.
Video: making a wall
President of the employees’ union told Greek media that their action was symbolic in order to protest cuts of funding and lack of personnel.
“The hospital is over-crowded, there is lack of personnel and material, the living conditions for the patients are deteriorating,” Michalis Yiannakos told private Mega TV on Monday morning.
“This year the hospital budget was cut by 3.5 billion. The National Health Care Organisation (EOPYY) has not paid any penny from the outstanding debts. The result is the decline in the quality of food and material. There are no syringes and gauze and nurses go to pharmacies and buy with their own money syringes, gauze and plastic gloves.”
Yiannakos warned that due to outstanding debts suppliers have been threatening to cut the food supplies to patients as of tomorrow.
Claiming that there was no staff hiring for the last 10 years, Yiannakos said, that “one nurse is responsible for 40 patients,” patients who have special needs.
Yianakkos and three other unionists were detained by the police. The charges against them? “Illegal construction works”! At least it shows, Greek police can have some portion of humour…
Mental Health Care Collapsing
Taking office in June 2012, health minister Andreas Lykourenztos made sharp cuts in the 2012-budget for the mental health facilities and thus at 50%.
Many facilities and networks taking care of 37,000 psychic and mental ill are threaten to collapse.
However the minister lashes out at any representatives who dare to protest.
PS sure, mental patients do not have a strong lobby and are the first vulnerable victims in a widespread austerity storm and the total collapse of welfare state. Who will take care of them?