Health Minister Andreas Loverdos on Monday announced plans for the administrative merger of dozens of state-run and public hospitals around the country.
In a meeting with hospital administrators, he underlined that 83 managers will run the 131 hospitals currently in operation nationwide and that 300 of the 1,900 hospital clinics will be merged. Loverdos underlined that 950 hospital clinics were in operation 15 years ago, and in the meantime, their number has more than doubled.
“We are tearing down the ‘small shops’ created … and that’s fine! We are doing this so that we will not be forced to shutdown any hospitals,” he said, an indirect barb at physicians who used the hospital clinics for years as a private practice.
Addressing the administrators, he called on them to move within approved budgets and stressed that money will be saved without having to close hospitals or resort to layoffs. He expressed optimism that health sector expenditure cuts in 2011 will easily meet the target of 1.35 billion euros.
Loverdos stressed that according to available figures, a 10-pct increase is being recorded since the beginning of the year in the number of patients treated in public hospitals and therefore, hospitals should become more effective in terms of services offered to the citizens.