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Greece’s Public Health Services on the brink of collapse

Employees at Public Hospitals warn: “Greece’s Public Health Services are on the brink of collapse” Six years of economic crisis, loan agreements, austerity cuts and freezing of new hiring threaten the primary care health care system. A report published by the Panhellenic Federation of Employees at Public Hospitals (POEDIN) draws a dire picture of the situation and furthermore blames the Health Ministry and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

“They implement the bailout agreements by the book and dramatically shrink expenditure for the Public Health sector, thus awaiting from us to thank them for the nothing they offer instead of humbly apologize,” POEDIN stresses in a statement.

“Hospitals, medical centers, EKAV [ambulance services] are in a state of dissolution,” the statement warns, adding that the premier and Health Ministry officials will “soon have to answer for the destruction of ESY.”

Painting a dire picture, the report notes a fundamental lack of medical equipment (even ambulance stretchers), the shutdown of intensive care units and operating theaters, as well as shortages in doctors and staff at medical units across the country.

  • During their hospitalization patients are required to buy materials that will consume.
  • 200 beds in Intensive Care Units are not in operation due to lack of personnel.
  • Waiting list for surgery is up to a year due to lack of personnel and surgical material.
  • Damaged medical equipment will not be repaired or replaced, “so that patients turn to the private sector.”
  • There are no necessary and appropriate radiotherapy machines or they do not work, and cancer patients die because of long waiting list.
  • Hospitals, health centers and ambulances are maintained through fundraising and donations by local bodies. Their arrears exceeded €1.5 billion.
  • The health ministers have reduced the ESY staff by 4,000  people.
  • Vacant posts in hospitals ares 35,000.
  • The Primary Health Care has been dissolved.
  • Citizens pay for medical treatment from their own pockets.

The situation at the Geniko Kratiko Athinon Gennimatas Hospital is particularly acute as 40 percent of positions across all its medical departments are vacant, while different departments have been merged to allow overworked staff to take a five-day summer vacation.

According to POEDIN, one of the two CT scanners at the hospital is often out of order for long periods of time, while its two x-ray machines don’t work, forcing patients and doctors to pay to use others at private clinics and hospitals.

The report also warns that the Erythros Stavros Hospital in Athens will be forced to shut down if orthopedic doctors are not hired soon, as most are now about to retire, while 70 percent of administrative positions are vacant.

The same problems, the report claims, are also impacting other major hospitals in the capital, including the Ippokrateio, the Alexandra and the Thriasio, as well as the Papageorgiou in Thessaloniki and other major medical facilities throughout Greece.

sources: zougla.gr, ekathimerini, poedin

PS Same problem since 2010: the first sector to be sacrificed in the name of the bailout agreement was the Public Health Sector. That’s the famous IMF policy. But it’s good to remind the issue every once in a while.

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  1. The Greek public health service was always awful, even before the IMF. Of course, now that Greece is broke, things are worse than ever. I personally have the European Health Insurance Card issued by IKA, so as long as I am not dying, I will fly to a EU country and get treated.

    If I am dying, well then I am dying!

    • keeptalkinggreece

      pray to God you don’t get chronic-ill and need 500-euro per month on medication, diapers, physiotherapy, other home-nursing material etc. your EUCrad will not cover this. IKA just part of it.

    • What do you care? Stay in Germany and enjoy the Lidl version! Don’t forget the cheapo dust cookies.

  2. I’ve got Blue Cross of California.
    No system in the world could match it.

  3. The IMF and the EU logic is obviously that if the population can not get health care and die early, the problem of Greece will be solved. I.e. No Greeks no bale out problem solved. Once more the haves win the have nots don’t matter.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      no Greek also no tax revenues, no loan repayment

      • But hey it’s ok. Henry Kissinger’s plans are coming to fruition siga siga and Greeks will be replaced by migrant slave labour and our homes be taken over by Troikanauts, their hangers on and Israeli second homers guarded by an expanded IDF here in Greece. (All bought for peanuts at auction.)

        Greece is too good to waste on Greeks you see…

        • Giaourti Giaourtaki

          Well, so let’s squat the Cypriot embassy then and plea for a Cypriot invasion in Greece, the army will surrender fast and there will be no more Greek debts in the new successful state of Great Cyprus as a non existing state has no debts anymore; also it will be fun to see Brexit in Akrotiri and Dhekelia with brave British troops jumping into the sea and try to swim for Asylum.

  4. Dr Richard Duncan’s “Olduvai Theory” predicts general collapse as the energy-per-capita (e) begins to fall from year 2016 onwards; industrual civilization has a time period of circa 100 to 150 years. All that has happened is that Greece is the first country to start to fail, as part of the Olduvai Theory collapse, and there will be many others that will follow. The USA is the largest debtor nation ever and drowning in debt. When the US economy fails, there will be civil war in the USA (especially with all the guns about there), and then we will see World War III, the nuclear arsenal will be invoked and destruction will be total – no more human beings. So much for the Greek philosophers when there are no longer any human beings in existence to consider philosophical theses of these Greek philosophers.

    • Giaourti Giaourtaki

      Hopefully smart animal-friendly weapons will leave nature untouched, humans can go to Mars instead and gas the planet there, no place for this destructive scum on mother earth anymore.