Hospital suppliers renew threat of 'embargo'

The clash between the health ministry and state hospital suppliers escalated on Thursday after suppliers announced a three-day 'warning' embargo starting on Monday. In a press conference, the suppliers of surgical gloves, cotton wool, syringes and other basic hospital supplies claimed that their businesses were in danger of closing due to the debts accumulated by hospitals and that at least 1,000 people would lose their jobs as a result.

They said an emergency system would be set up to ensure that hospitals could be supplied in cases of serious need, so as not to endanger or cause hardship to patients.

The president of the suppliers' association claimed that only 31 percent of the money owed to suppliers by hospitals for 2010 had so far been paid. He also stressed that the bonds used to settle debts for past years are not cashed in advance by any bank.

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