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Dying in the streets of Greece due to Troika cuts & shortages in health care sector

I really do not get it. Greek Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis was eager to join the Troika-demanded trimming down of the country’s public sector through the enforced “mobility scheme”/”personnel transfer”/ kick in the as*”- scheme or call it however you want it.A total of 1,641 health-care employees are to be transferred to other positions in other public sector areas.

At the same time, doctors and healthcare personnel complain about personnel shortages. Not to mention the increasing number of incidents, where patients are not able to get medical care when they need it due to personnel shortage. , while incidents where patients even lose their lives for the same reason are not a rarity.

Patient dies on the way from hospital to hospital

In internal inquiry has been order to the death of a 70 year-old patient from Amaliada (Peloponnese) who suffered a rupture in abdominal aorta. Initially he was transferred to the University Hospital of Patras in Rio, 70 km away.

However under yet to be investigated circumstances doctors reportedly claimed, they could not perform the needed operation citing lack of operating rooms and staff. The ambulance took the unlucky man to an Athens hospital where he could undergo a surgery.

The man did not manage to survive the 210-km-long journey and died in the ambulance.

The commander of National Center for Haealthcare Operations (EKEPY) who has ordered the investigation clamaid that the man could undergo surgery during the morning shifts of the National Healthcare System (ESY) hospital as it was an emergency incident. (iatropedia)

 I suppose, the hospital was not on duty that morning and could not accept emergency operations.

This incident comes in light just a couple of days where a man suffered a heart attack and collapsed outside the closed local health care center on the island of Symi. It was pure coincidence that the man got the medical care he needed.

One does not have to read the news in Greece, listen to the doctors’ complains about the personnel shortage in the healthcare sector.

It’s a situation all of us get confronted with each and every day. In some public hospitals, patients need to stand line as early as 4 or 6 o’ clock in the morning to get a number (“the magic number”) and been taken care by doctors and specialists.

An appointment with a doctor of Greece’s biggest insurance fund IKA takes normally 6 weeks. If the doctor is not available on the date the patient has the appointment, no other doctor replaces him. The patient has to arrange a new appointment and wait for another 3-6 weeks.

Patients wait 6 weeks for a doctor’s appointment – or longer

A chronic-ill friend was telling me the other day, that the specialist she had appointment with on September 5th had an accident and cancelled the appointment.  A new appointment with her IKA-doctor would be available on October 20th. So she picked up a new doctor in the broader area and got an appointment for September 25th.

No problem, right? My friend had to pay 125 euro from her own pocket for prescription medicine, as she cannot interrupt her medication due to Greek health care appointments-system and personnel shortage. Problem is that when she meets the doc on Sept 25th, he cannot prescribe the drugs she needs retrospective.

Before the Troika, appointments with IKA doctors would normally need 4 weeks.

Equally bad is the situation in the intensive care units. Patients in Attica prefecture are in need of 30-40 IC beds on a daily basis. The president of Greek Society for Intensive Care Medicine said that more than 200 ICU beds across the country are closed due to personnel shortage.

200 ICU beds closed

 In Attikon, a modern public hospital founded a decade ago, only 13 ICU beds out of 27 are in operation.

While the the European average is 12 ICU beds per 100,000 residents, in Greece the ratio is just the half:  6 ICU beds per 100,000 population.

Also in Attikon, 2 nurses have to come up for the needs of 65 patients.

A special chapter is needed to cover the issue of the medicine shortage. Pharmaceutical companies give drugs to pharmacies by the dropper. You need a special drug that possible cost more than 50 euro? Oh, dear! Take the risk and wait for a couple of days. Like 1… 2… 3… 4… ops! granny is dead!

As for the healthcare for uninsured… Oh yes! The health ministry distributes several thousands so-called ” health vouchers”. The lucky uninsured will be granted medical checks and diagnosis. But not drugs or operations.

PS I suppose, the loss of patients and seniors who cannot afford medicine or treatment are considered as “collateral damage” in the economic war we experience nowadays. Not, not killed by friendly ammunition…

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One comment

  1. Just wait until October and those who have paid their IKA and other taxes, who have claimed unemployment monies for the last four years are refused payments this year