Health Minister Andreas Loverdos on Tuesday received a delegation of "troika" inspectors and briefed them on the measures he intends to take to ensure cuts of roughly 1.4 billion euros in the public healthcare sector by the end of 2011.

“Whether the troika representatives will be convinced that we can pull this through will depend on whether the interventions we suggest will be deemed as satisfactory,” Loverdos stated, clarifying however, that “the interventions in question are specific” and that “no more measures in store.”

The health minister stated that salaries and benefits in the healthcare sector will not be affected, while also ruling out hospital mergers.

Loverdos said 840 million euros can be saved through the implementation of measures in the daily operation of public hospitals, the e-prescription system and (ANA-MPA) changes in "long embedded attitudes", as he said, stressing that civil servants will have use some 12,000 physicians employed by the their health fund and not outside physicians.

He also stated that roughly 280 million euros can be saved through the reforms implemented in the specific fund and another 250 million through the timely payment of hospital suppliers. In addition, 150 million euros will be saved through changes implemented in the purchasing of 89 of the most expensive prescription drugs.

The health minister pointed out that the uninsured and indigent in Athens and Thessaloniki will be able to seek healthcare in six designated public hospitals, four in Athens and two in Thessaloniki, in an effort to put an end to practices of over-prescription.