Greek hospitals run out of essential supplies

Budget cuts leave Greek hospitals without painkillers, scissors, and sheets

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Greek hospitals have declared that doctors can not treat any patients because they are running out of basic supplies such as hospital sheets and painkillers due to huge budget cuts by the government.

The budget cuts applied to the health industry have left more than 2.5 million Greek citizens without insurance.

One of the trainees in Athens hospital KAT said that Greek hospitals were near the “breaking point.”

“There is no money to repair medical equipment, no money for ambulances to use for petrol, no money to hire nurses and no money to buy modern surgical supplies,” the trainee surgeon said.

According to media reports, hospitals have no equipment to measure blood pressure, no medication to relieve pain, not even sheets for hospitalised patients.

On Wednesday, government health workers including ambulance crews and welfare units went on strike for 24 hours and rallied in front of the Greek Health Ministry in Athens.

The protesters stated that  “Greece’s national health service is out of control due to underfunding and understaffing.”  

“The course of the country’s negotiation with its creditors is not creating the requirements to solve accumulated problems and the situation is heading to a non-manageable level,” they said in their statement.

Syriza promised to remove the €5 examination fee from state hospitals and appoint 4,500 more employees to hospitals before the elections.

However it appears that Syriza cannot fulfill these pledges and the situation has worsened. The healthcare budget has been cut by 25 percent.

Greece has been negotiating with its creditors over the past four months about the release of some 7.2 billion euros in aid.

Tsipras himself said in the Riga summit that he was "very optimistic" about soon reaching a "long-term, sustainable and viable solution without the mistakes of the past."

Athens has been heavily indebted to the EU and the IMF, to the tune of almost 240 billion euros, ever since the eurozone crisis seriously hit the country’s economy from 2009 to the present.

Before the last general election, Tsipras’ Syriza Party had vowed to terminate the EU’s unilateral financial power over Greece, but the Syriza-led government has so far continued to focus on Greece’s financial stability in order to receive new bailout money from the Union.

The EU however has demanded the continuation of fiscal and economic reforms if the Syriza government in Greece wishes to receive more loans from its EU creditors.

Talks between the parties have slowed down with the Tsipras-Varoufakis leadership resisting pension cuts and labour reforms which would clash with pre-election Syriza campaign pledges to end austerity measures angering Greeks who have been heavily affected by the ongoing financial-economic crisis.

TRTWorld and agencies