The memorandum has apparently hit the health sector too. Together with the NHS, the National Center for Emergency Care (EKAB) seems to be in the …intensive care unit too. Ambulances for withdrawal with 600,000 klm on their backs are transporting patients throughout Greece while others remain parked for months at the central facilities of EKAB because of lack of money for spare parts.
The situation becomes even more tragic because of the lack of doctors whose contracts expire and are not renewed.
At a period when all citizens have sunk into poverty and have turned to the public health system, an institution with enormous social contribution is threatened to stop providing its services. Employees give their own daily fight claiming accruals since 2010.
They have even start retentions claiming payments that were never given to them. As stated in their official announcement "we regret we have to lower the insurance rate to 33% by exercising the right of work retention for non-payment of accruals about our away transportation since March 2010, and for our night hours and holidays work since September 2011."
Relevant sources of the health ministry reported in, that the disbursement of nearly 2 million euros attributable to workers’ overtime has already been approved, but got stuck due to the Christmas leaves of members from the Court of Auditors, whose signatures are needed.
The same information says the matter will be resolved with an amendment that will be filed today in the finance ministry’s multi-bill. Regarding the work away from home, workers are currently being paid the fees they are owed from April-May 2011.
Due to the retention, right now Thessaloniki has 8 available ambulances from a total of 24, Attica 30 from 75, Larissa and Ioannina 3 of 6, as does Heraklion. Lamia has only 2 available ambulances.
Ambulances for withdrawal
The ambulance fleet is obsolete. At present there are ambulances with 600,000 miles, posing serious risks for patients and rescuers safety alike. The technical department is making heroic efforts, often without success due to these age vehicles.
Through their representatives, employees have informed the administration and the political leadership of the health ministry, that after the salaries cuts by 40% it is impossible for them to finance the state by paying out of their own pocket the expenses for the transportation of patients from underactive province hospitals to the central ones.