February 12, 2016
Amid a tight austerity framework with IMF’s Director of European Department Paul Thomsen suggesting additional measures of 9 billion euros and further cuts for Greece to achieve midterm goals, the Syriza-led government is proceeding to the advancement of healthcare reforms to protect the most vulnerable parts of the Greek society.
The major aim of the reforms is to provide 2-2,500,000 people not covered by any social security theme with health coverage, including pregnant women, children, mentally ill, drug addicts, chronically ill people. In this broad category immigrants without legal documents are also included, with the government to facilitate their coverage for as long as their asylum or any other application are pending.
At the same time, the Greek government is introducing incentives for medical recruitments in under-populated areas, distant from urban centres regions were needs are continuously growing. In similar respect, facilitation and acceleration of medical recruitments is achieved through the creation of Recruitment Councils in nationwide scale, therefore tackling bureaucratic delays.
Being aware of the degree of corruption problem in the health sector, the government is also moving to the creation of Patient Rights Bureau in every administrative periphery, established in public hospitals, to address complaints and deal with cases of bribery. Furthermore, the Ministry announces the re-organization of Disciplinary and Monitoring Boards that will support the Bureaus and build a wide network of information exchange towards better coordination.
In Santorini, one of the most famous Greek islands and an international tourism destination, the government comes to address a deep-rooted problem, impossible for a European country: the creation of a public hospital, equipped with all units.
All that reforms might seem elementary for a modern state, but unfortunately the previous governments, despite excessive EU funding during the last thirty years, did nothing more than weakening the very foundations of a welfare state. Today, in conditions of tough austerity, the Syriza-led government tries to keep the balance between fiscal consolidation and social justice, providing the minimum safety nets to the most affected ones.
Follow Dimitris Rapidis on Twitter: @rapidisAuthor : Dimitris Rapidis