Pa­tients avoid ex­tra ex­penses

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The num­ber of peo­ple vis­it­ing doc­tors at Greek state hos­pi­tals dur­ing af­ter­noon hours that are set aside for pri­vate prac­tice has dropped by 30 per­cent this year, com­pared to 2010, which could leave the hos­pi­tals about 20 mil­lion eu­ros short by the end of the year.

Since 2001, state hos­pi­tal doc­tors have been al­lowed to see pri­vate pa­tients at pub­lic hos­pi­tals dur­ing the af­ter­noons rather than at their own surg­eries. In re­turn, the hos­pi­tals get a cut of the doc­tors’ ex­tra earn­ings.

How­ever, the eco­nomic cri­sis ap­pears to be lim­it­ing the num­ber of peo­ple will­ing to pay to see doc­tors in the af­ter­noons. They re­ceived some 14,000 fewer vis­i­tors dur­ing the first four months of this year than in 2010, which has led to hos­pi­tals earn­ing 15.5 mil­lion eu­ros, which is 6 mil­lion less than dur­ing the same pe­riod last year. It is a fur­ther blow to the pub­lic health­care sec­tor, which is strug­gling due to se­vere cost-cut­ting.

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