Education, health ministers hold meeting on Aretaio, Aiginiteo hospitals

Health Minister Andreas Loverdos on Thursday announced that health and education ministry officials had come up with a solution that would solve the immediate funding problems of two university hospitals, the Aretaio and Aiginiteo, that recently shut down due to lack of funding.

He also denounced a sudden shutdown of the emergency shift at Alexandras Hospital due to a lack of beds and supplies as "sabotage" and said that the reasons given for the shutdown did not hold up under inspection.

According to the minister, there were 37 empty beds in the hospital and the hospital stores were well-stocked with supplies at the time it closed its doors. He announced that he had ordered a formal internal inquiry conducted under oath into the affair and stressed that those responsible would face sanctions, while the hospital had been returned to active duty.

Loverdos made the statements after a meeting with Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou and the heads of university medical schools on Thursday concerning the problems and payment issues that shut down Aretaio and Aiginiteio.

The meeting focused on the operation of the two hospitals but also problems faced by university doctors in general.

Loverdos announced that plans for an evaluation of the work done by the two university hospitals, including teaching, research, clinical and administrative, by a firm of international evaluators and that based on this evaluation, they would then draw up a three-year plan that he said would allow them to operate "on a realistic and effective basis".

Loverdos said the two ministries also agreed on a proposal to make the two hospitals and other university hospitals a part of the national health system so as to avoid problems with red tape. A final decision on the proposal would be made during the next meeting with university hospital doctors and, unless any other complications arose, would be made into law.

Asked whether 28 percent of funding was enough to cover the needs of the two hospitals, the minister said that they had made a decision for "very specific funding" from the health ministry, giving 2.1 million euro to cover the ministry's obligations relating to interns in 2011.

He said this would cover the needs of the hospitals "for the time being" and that there would be no more complications in the future following the solutions found.




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