Forced mobilization of health workers is coming

This week, the government again invited doctors to work in the covid wards, warning that if they did not come voluntarily, they would be forced to mobilize.

Today or tomorrow, the voluntary recruitment process will end, and then the government will begin a forced mobilization of health workers, starting in Thessaly and Northern Greece, where the situation has deteriorated further. If necessary, mobilization will continue in the rest of Greece, Health Minister Thanos Pleuris said, speaking before OPEN on Monday morning, November 15.

With regard to the possibility of introducing new measures, he stressed that any measures will apply to those who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus, as they put pressure on the national health system (NHS). “Whatever measures we consider necessary and concern unvaccinated citizens, we will take them. They will not punish us, ”the minister said.

“We consult with medical associations. Some doctors come to us voluntarily, but within a week, if the gaps are not filled, doctors are forcibly mobilized from Thessaloniki and Northern Greece. We want to make up for the shortage of personnel in agreement with the doctors, but everything shows that we will have to act compulsorily, ”the Minister of Health emphasized.

“This is a dynamic process as some of the staffing gap is currently being filled by volunteer doctors. The gaps will be filled in within a week, ”he said.

“We are ready to start mobilization, but it will not happen today. In any case, it takes 48 hours from the moment of submitting the order for paperwork to the completion of the process. There are specialties that are very difficult to cover, for example, anesthesiologists, because they work in another private hospital, ”he said.

Cooperation of NHS with private clinics

At the same time, he spoke about the full coexistence of the NHS with private clinics. “In Thessaly and Thessaloniki, private clinics have already provided more than 700 beds for Covid and non-Covid patients,” the minister stressed, adding that “preparations are also underway in Athens.”

“At the same time, all empty beds in private sector intensive care units are managed by EKAB (Ambulance). Every time from a public hospital, if there is an empty bed in the private sector, patients are transferred there, ”the minister said, however, explaining that this measure only applies to incidents not related to Covid. “It is not possible to have Covid patients and non-Covid patients in the same intensive care unit,” he explained.

Will the third dose be required?

When asked about the possibility of introducing new measures against the coronavirus and, in particular, whether there is a possibility that the third dose in the age group, for example, for people over 65 years old, will become mandatory, the Minister of Health replied that “scientific research shows that the third dose is a booster. At this stage, we point out the need for a third dose for people over 65 and do not oblige them, ”he said. The response to the third dose is very high, even over the age of 60. If this response continues, we will not need to talk about anything else, everything is ready for this, ”he stressed.

New measures only for the unvaccinated – what is being considered

“The situation seems to be stable, but that doesn’t mean we need to calm down. It seems that the spread of the virus is being contained, but it may be temporary, we will see the situation today and tomorrow, and then we will talk about new measures with experts, ”said Mr. Pleuris to OPEN and explained that if new measures are taken, they will be touch only the unvaccinated. ”

“Both intensive care beds and the vast majority of deaths are our fellow citizens who have not been vaccinated,” said Mr. Pleuris and stressed that any new measures would be “protective, not punitive.” “The vaccinated also get sick, but the pressure on the healthcare system is mainly exerted by the unvaccinated. The government will take all necessary measures, “he said, adding,” We do not exclude further tightening of immunization, if the situation so requires. ”

“There are no proposals to cancel the suspension of medical services, but it is very important that, especially among the medical staff, there are no nurses who do not work. In the context of suspension, we put the most pressure on the nurses. Lack of them is a special problem. The gaps are being filled by internal movements … Their return to work unvaccinated is not discussed, ”the minister said.

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