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Medical Association denounces Social Clinic for the poor as “illegal” & creating “unfair competition”!!!

Greece is a country always good for surprises! And here comes a painful injection to the hundreds of volunteers offering their services to the poor of the IMF-austerity hit country. After a couple of years of social practice and solidarity in the field of health care and 51 units across the country providing the basics free of charge to the millions of uninsured and zero-income citizens, a local medical association came out to denounce social clinics and pharmacies as illegal due to unfair competition.

In an announcement the Board of the Medical Association of Arta, Western Greece,  denounced as illegal the operation of a Social Clinic and Pharmacy stressing at the same time that the operation of a clinic offering health services free of charge to vulnerable members of the society was creating unfair competition.

“It is not known in what working relations the doctors provide their services, whether they are employed or work as freelancers or they offer voluntary work. The legitimate interests of the physicians members of the Medical Association of Arta should be  particularly been taken care of in the context of the unfair competition these polyclinics create,” the statement notes adding that according to the Law of 2014 Greeks and foreigners with social security number have access free of charge to public health care.

Of course, things are not as simple as stated by the Law. In a country where one in four Greeks is unemployed and consequently uninsured, public hospitals treat only ’emergencies’ of uninsured and then again only if they fulfill certain conditions.

KTG personally was eye-witness to a incident where the doctors told a man with a broken arm that he had to have certain insurance stamps before he lost his job in order to be treated free of charge, otherwise he had to cover all expenses.

Exactly this situation of “treatment free of charge …but” was stressed by the Arta Social Clinic and Pharmacy in a statement adding that after the many austerity cuts in health care and pensions and the skyrocketing of the unemployment, many citizens were even unable to pay their participation in order to buy their prescription medicine. Therefore the social clinics and pharmacies are a necessity,  “creating a protection shield and cohesion in the society through social solidarity networks so that the society resists and imposes alternative solutions in the crisis.”

To the Medical Association claim that its members treat poor citizens free of charge, the Arta Clinic invited all doctors of the area to join the social clinic and offer voluntarily their services.

If you want to support the Social Clinic and Pharmacy of Arta, you can sign THE PETITION HERE and ask the local medical association to withdraw its announcement, which is in practice a decision against the social clinic.

The Medical Association announcement triggered anger also among the other social clinics across the country, which operate on voluntarily basis of medical personnel and citizens volunteers.

PS it is high time for Greeks to change their mentality and accept alternative solutions amid the economic crisis that still troubles millions of people, especially the vulnerable ones with the social state to have collapsed long ago.


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  1. Don’t worry, Arta is land of Tsipras !

  2. What do you imply? That Tsipars might favor this initiative because it’s in his land? Sounds very clientelistic to me. This can not be, the guy says he has a democratic mandate to flight clientelism. :-))

  3. agatha mantanes

    It is incomprehensible that someone would be denied free Healthcare in a country where the healthcare system is undeniably lacking and basically useless.I no longer wonder why Greece is in such a bad state of affairs.when the government no longer cares but its citizens there is no saving it.

  4. The ‘Board of the Medical Association of Arta’, as usually happens whenever there is an attempt in Greece to voluntarily provide alternative solutions to problems, is able to invoke the 1974 Constitution, which is a document designed to promote a clientist cronyist socio-economy whilst eliminating new initiatives.

    The cry we hear is “It would be unconstitutional!”
    God help us, until this 1974 Constitution is scrapped!