Public hospital doctors claimed on Thursday that Greece’s health system is collapsing but the pressure on the government from pharmacists eased as they agreed to resume supplying customers on credit.
The Federation of Hospital Doctors’ Unions convened a news conference to draw attention to the problems being created by spending cuts in the public healthcare budget. The federation’s president, Dimitris Varnavas, said the resignation of a hospital director on Rhodes as well as other shortages emphasized the deteriorating state of public healthcare.
“The National Health System has collapsed in the most official and disastrous manner,” he said.
Varnavas said that most hospitals no longer had an executive board that could meet to decide on a budget and purchase of supplies. He said that staff and equipment shortages were now hampering the provision of healthcare at numerous hospitals around the country.
The doctor added that the Neurosurgery Department at the University Hospital of Alexandroupolis in northeastern Greece had closed because only one staff member was left. He also cited the example of the recently formed psychiatric unit for teenagers at the Sismanogleio Hospital in Athens, which is the only department of its kind in Greece. According to Varanavas, there are only two psychiatrists to deal with patients. He said that a number of island hospitals now have insufficient medical personnel to operate beyond normal hours.
In a related issue, pharmacists eased the pressure on the government by resuming service to customers insured with social security funds. Since the start of the year, pharmacies had stopped supplying drugs on credit due to the funds owing some 400 million euros for medicines that had already been dispensed.
However, the government appears to have appeased the pharmacists by giving them a payment timetable and restoring the discounts they received from drug companies.