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Greek Health Ministry closes down psychiatric hospitals, EOPYY doctors on strike (Nov 25-Dec 3/2013

Employees at Psychiatric Hospital Dromokaiteio proceeded to symbolic closure of its main entrance on Monday morning. The action aimed to protest the “mobility scheme” ordered by the Troika and executed by Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis, that will leave the main public psychiatric hospitals of the country almost without personnel.

dromokaiteio

Mental health workers describe the dismantling of the psychiatry as “a crime against one of the most vulnerable society groups.”

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The minister of one of the most important ministries in the country, is much too keen to apply the demanded austerity depriving citizens from the basics. Georgiadis starts the mobility scheme in the public hospitals of mental health depriving the Psychiatric Hospital of Dafni from 300 employees, the Dromokaiteio in Athens and the Psychiatric Hospital in Thessaloniki from 80 employees.

The minister defends his decision claiming the economic targets cannot be met otherwise.

In Dafni hospital, the 100 employees who will soon go into retirement will not be replaced. “This means that the hospital will be closed down in one year,” Theodoros Megalooikonomou, director of the 9th Psychiatry Department of Dafni told daily Efimerida twn Syntaktwn.

The shortages in the psychiatric hospitals are terrifying. We are facing the complete dismantling of mental health and thus literally, not metaphorically,” Megalooikonomoy warned.

Together with the ‘mobility scheme’ that will send employees at home with 70% of their salary and the perspective of dismissal after eight months, the health ministry has also decided to radically cut the duration of hospitalization of mentally ill patients.

Mentally ill patients will stay maximum three months in the hospitals’ psychiatric units and be released regardless of their condition.

There is the option of a three-month extension but without further extension of even one day.

The health minister’s theoretical plan foresees that these patients can be relocated to specialized hostels or boarding houses or return to their homes. The transfer of 400 chronic ill psychiatry patients will have to be concluded by 31.12.2013.

The majority of the chronic ill patients in the public psychiatric hospitals are poor, unemployed and uninsured, neither they nor their families can financially absorb the health care expenses, the therapy and medication cost.

Of course, in Greece of loan agreements there are no community structures to absorb these patients, as there are not mental health centers.

There is a general outcry in the Greek health care as the minister is adamant to ‘reconstruct’ the sector by dismissing personnel through the ‘mobility scheme’.  IKA doctors and personnel at Greece’s National Health Care system (EOPYY) started rolling 24-hour strikes on Monday, November 25th until December 3rd 2013. EOPYY doctors and personnel warn with permanent strikes.

EOPYY units work only with emergency staff for urgent cases.

PS and if we don’t die, we will live to praise health minister Adonis Georgiadis as ‘the greatest Greek health reformer of all times’

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