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Doctors protest as Greek Health Minister closes down Primary Health Care units for one month

Primary health care doctors, administrative personnel and patients ‘occupied’ several EOPYY units on Monday morning to protest the unprecedented: the closure of primary health care provider 380 units for at least one month.

The protesters hindered the handing over of the health facilities to representatives of the health ministry.

Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis warned the protesters that any damage in the facilities will be paid by the protesters’ own pockets.

Health Minister: doctors’ protest have been initiated by SYRIZA

Deputy Healh Minister: only 10% of the insured seek the facilities of EOPYY


The Health Minister had decided to close down the units of Primary Health Care (EOPYY) as of Monday and for at least one month until the new health care provider (PEDY) opens.

More than 8,500 doctors and EOPYY personnel will be sent home with 75% of the salary, will undergo evaluation of their work and will be assigned to new work places eventually several hundred kilometers away from their old work places.

The Health Ministry demands that EOPYY doctors close down their private offices, await for the new posting and resign from the public health care if they disagree with their new appointment. That is doctors will have eventually close and reopen their private businesses within a couple of weeks.

The latest Greek health care reform threatens to make patients’ access to primary health care more difficult as many facilities will close down. Especially in the country side and on islands, patients are at risk to have to cover long distance in order to get the obvious in a country that claims to belong to Europe.

Furthermore, the health ministry applied a prescription cap to doctors, a cap which is 20% less than that of 2013. In real Greek life, this means: doctors have more patients but are allowed to prescribe less medicine.

Health Ministry announced on Monday that:

patients will have to turn to public hospitals or private doctors assigned with EOPYY and get treatment and prescription medicine free of extra charge.

While the overhaul – the second since Greece flew into the IMF – of the public health care is taking place, the troubled Greek patient is seeking ways to have his medicine prescribed or find a doctor who will not charge him for services he used to get for free. “Free ” in the sense he had paid for them through the obligatory social contributions.

Since the IMF-imposed austerity and the increasing “decrease” of health care service provisions to insured patients, especially the chronic ill  saw their monthly health expenses skyrocket. My mom, for example, needs to pay 80 euro per month. for medicine and prescription. Before September 2012, her monthly cost was just ,  8 euro. By a monthly pension of 460 euro net, guess who comes up for these expenses….

More on the “Greek health reform” that will leave patients without easy access to primary health care read here.

More protests pictures here and here.

PS we should not complain. Christine Lagarde and Angela Merkel could cut all together the health care provisions….



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One comment

  1. This is the “Health Ministry” testing Darwin’s theory of “survival of the fitist.” Thinning the herd.