July 14, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Hospital doctors go on 48-hour strike

Doctors and staff at Greece’s public hospitals, upset by the ongoing deterioration of the national health system, dramatic working conditions and staff shortages, have launched a 48-hour strike.

The Federation of Greek Hospital Doctors (OENGE) has launched a 48-hour strike throughout the country on Wednesday and Thursday, November 29-30, 2023. The Panhellenic Federation of Public Hospital Workers also joined the protest on November 30 (POEDIN).

Doctors at public hospitals are demanding wage increases that have been frozen for 15 years, as well as an increase in minimum pay for on-call shifts and the hiring of staff to fill vacant organic positions at hospitals.

They condemn flexible working arrangements introduced in public hospitals and staff shortages they call “hazardous to patient health”, while the outsourcing of hospital services is a growing trend.

“We do not believe in the government’s fairy tale that it taxes self-employed scientists and small specialists in order to provide money for healthcare and education. Automation of society is not happening,” – OEGNE said in a statement.

Hospital doctors are not only advocating for higher wages and more hiring, but they are also calling for the permanent hiring of all contract workers without strings attached. They are also pushing for autonomous taxation of on-call shifts, tax exemption for additional on-call shifts, and increased government funding for the health care system. Finally, they emphasize the importance of not allowing any department, clinic or hospital to merge or close.

The Thessaloniki Hospital Doctors Association (ENITH) is also pushing for doubling salaries and expanding the number of doctors in hospitals. She points out that the current vacancy rate for doctor positions in hospitals in the northern port city is 30%. The president of the hospital workers’ union (POEDIN) said there were 3,000 fewer doctors in public hospitals than last year. Doctors either retire and are not replaced, or go to the private sector or abroad, where salaries and working conditions are much better.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis sacked the head of the maternity hospital Elena Venizelou in Athens on Wednesday at noon, after media reported hours earlier that “Pregnant women, new mothers, newly operated patients, newborns and cancer patients awaiting chemotherapy, doctors and other staff” have been left without heating for the past two weeks.

According to maternity hospital staff, “The central heating system exploded due to its age as soon as it was started two weeks ago” and there was no plan to fix this problem. “We have been without heating since November 17. And we are not in Gaza,” – emphasized the staff.

PS This year, hundreds of millions of euros have been allocated to questionable funding for the Ministry of Climate Crisis. Most of them are distributed among “their” companies. As usual, there is not enough for medicine…

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