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Protest against the lack of medical staff in Greece

18 March 2010 / 15:03:02  GRReporter
3274 reads

Victoria Mindova

Healthcare unions are raising one after the other to protest this week. First the Common-Greek federation of unions of nurses, and consequently the National Federation of employees in the public health sector announced their dissatisfaction with the condition of health facilities in the country and the staff in them. The unions want the government to draw up a clear strategy for improving health systems and in the shortest possible time to introduce a program for the appointment of competent medical staff. According experts the public health system in Greece is experiencing acute need for additional staff. A family of a doctor and a nurse tell GRReporter, that currently the practice in public hospitals is to have one nurse during night shifts, covering the needs of 40 patients. 

Causing particular concern were the announced 20% bonus cuts of public employees, which will inevitably affect the health workers in the public health system. The main problems that unions claim are poor working conditions in hospitals and chronic shortages of staff and funding. Due to reduced budgets this year, many public hospitals have to reduce their staff and experts say the staff is vital for the normal functioning of hospitals. "Rather than appoint medical personnel as they promised before the election, they (the government) will now start layoffs. And the ones who will not get fired, they will have their salaries reduced," complains a protesting health worker. 

According to official statements of protesters, in many hospitals emergency calls are not paid for months, which is in violation with the national agreement for the provision of health services."We do not belong on the streets to strike," says a frustrated nurse and continues, "but we are compelled, because for many years different governments come and go and our health system is failing.”

Tags: Greece economy strike healthcare
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