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Pharmacists, doctors to strike next week

Δημοσίευση 28 Ιανουαρίου 2011, 08:51 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
Pharmacists, doctors to strike next week
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Greece's pharmacists on Thursday said that they would continue strike action in support of their demands for changes to the government's bill for liberalising their profession, with the board of the Panhellenic Pharmacists Association due to meet on Monday to decide what form their action will take.

Greece's pharmacists on Thursday said that they would continue strike action in support of their demands for changes to the government's bill for liberalising their profession, with the board of the Panhellenic Pharmacists Association due to meet on Monday to decide what form their action will take.

Pharmacists consider that they have achieved a first victory during a hearing held on the issue in Parliament but also want to see changes made to the draft bill.

"Chiefly we want to see withdrawn the articles that concern a reduction in the proportion of population [per pharmacy] and the opening of pharmacies at a range of 200m from prescription-writing centres, which will lead to the opening of thousands of new pharmacies, the exhausting opening on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday (75 hours a week) and the discount to social insurance funds. Points on which the minister appeared to insist," they indicated.

As of February 1, pharmacies in Attica will stop filling out prescriptions on credit to those insured by the social insurance funds OPAD, TSAY, TAS, ISAP and the lawyers fund that have outstanding debts of several months.

Pharmacists will be joined in strike action by doctors, who are rallying in opposition to the health ministry's draft bill for reforming the health system and demand that it be withdrawn.

Medical associations and doctors' unions in both the private and public sectors held a joint press conference on Thursday to announce planned strikes in early February. Doctors at the Social Insurance Foundation (IKA) clinics said they would begin nationwide 48-hour rolling strikes on Tuesday until Friday in protest against planned mergers of social insurance fund health care services, saying it would lead to worse health care and very poor conditions for doctors.

Hospital doctors have declared a four-hour work stoppage from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. next Tuesday in order to attend a protest by doctors outside the health ministry.

The head of the hospital doctors union EINAP Stathis Tsoukalis noted that the proposed bill would lower both the quantity and quality of health care services and violate collective agreements to the point of abolishing them. He stressed that if it was voted for doctors would only carry out the legal number of extra-hours shifts, four to six a month, and not agree to work more.

Doctors in private diagnostic clinics also complained that they were on the verge of bankruptcy because social insurance funds had delayed payment for the services of doctors working on contract for periods of between eight and 24 months, amassing a total debt nearing one billion euro.