A three-month social dialogue period that will lead to decisions on the mergers of greater Athens area public hospitals and a number of small regional hospitals was launched on Friday by Health Minister Andreas Loverdos.

Loverdos said social dialogue on the decisions reached will be initiated on July 1, before the parliament gives the go-ahead for the mergers, adding that the goal of the endeavour is to ensure that the people will get their money’s worth in healthcare. 

The public hospital reform will be based on five types of mergers featuring a single governor and management, as well as, hospital clinic mergers, hospital collaborations and upgrading of small hospitals to specialized clinics to offer either primary healthcare or treat chronic patients.

Loverdos underlined that the people are not satisfied with the health services they receive despite the large number of doctors and hospital beds available. Based on studies conducted, doctors are distributed unevenly in hospitals nationwide, while there is a lack of hospital staff and ineffective distribution of paramedic staff in hospitals. 

The dialogue was launched without the presence of Federation of Public Hospital Staff (POEDHN) representatives, who abstained, characterising the social dialogue as a pretence alleging that the decisions have already been made.