The shortage of workers in the ambulance service creates big problems

Ambulance workers are warning that they are facing a severe shortage of personnel, and this is slowing down emergency response times across the country.

According to the National Emergency Center (ΕΚΑΒ), there are currently 45 ambulances in use in Attica during the day and 28 at night. International standards recommend providing one ambulance for every 35,000 people, which means that per shift more than twice as many cars should be on duty.

The islands have also been hit as first responders struggle to fully man ambulances, at least one per island of more than 2,000 people.

According to ΕΚΑΒ, 450 ambulance workers have retired since 2019, and 560 employees have been hired on short-term contracts during the Covid pandemic. To reduce response time, the service needs to convert all short-term contracts to full-time and hire an additional 700 employees, but there are not many people willing to take on this job.

But even if the ambulance did arrive and you were taken to the hospital, there is no guaranteethat you will be served in the ambulance department. To begin with, the patient or accompanying person will be interrogated for a long time, demanding the presence of medical insurance, and in case of its absence may refuse to help. (however, even if there is insurance, help is not guaranteed, which is why recent examples with people who were denied and died at the gates of the hospital).

It is worth noting that, in addition to the state ambulance service, there are also private ones, often at the same private clinics or cooperating with them. There is no need to wait long and there are no problems with the staff. However, the services of a private clinic can be used mainly by persons insured in these clinics or foreigners with health insurance, or anyone who is willing to pay a fairly tidy sum.

In this case, you will be accepted with pleasure, the main thing is to pay …

PS This fact reminds us that in case of an emergency, a patient in Athens must wait at least 40 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. Unless, of course, your challenge is accepted. From personal experience, there are no guarantees for this. Especially if you speak bad English or Greek…

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