Fewer hos­pi­tal places due to cuts

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Sev­eral thou­sand hos­pi­tal beds will be re­moved, dozens of doc­tors will be trans­ferred and ad­min­is­tra­tive staff will be re­duced in a bid to re­duce costs by up to 150 mil­lion eu­ros in the pub­lic health sec­tor.

The mea­sures were un­veiled yes­ter­day by Health Min­is­ter An­dreas Lover­dos who de­scribed them as an ef­fort to “unite forces” in the health ser­vice.

He said that un­der the plans, the num­ber of hos­pi­tal beds avail­able to pa­tients would be slashed from 36,000 to 32,000 and that 500 places would be set aside for pri­or­ity use by pri­vate in­surance com­pa­nies for their clients. Lover­dos did not say how much the state would be charg­ing for these beds.

The num­ber of clin­ics and spe­cial­ist units at state hos­pi­tals will be re­duced from 2,000 to 1,670 as 330 will be merged and 40 will be moved in an ef­fort to im­prove ef­fi­ciency. Health Min­istry gen­eral sec­re­tary Nikos Poly­zos as­sured the pub­lic that all hos­pi­tals in ma­jor cities would re­tain units but that they would be merged at some ru­ral hos­pi­tals.

Lover­dos said that as a re­sult of these changes, some 600 of the 21,000 doc­tors work­ing in the health ser­vice would be moved to other de­part­ments.

Man­agers and ad­min­is­tra­tive staff also face the prospect of be­ing trans­ferred as the 133 pub­lic hos­pi­tals will no longer all have their own man­age­ment boards. In­stead, there will be a to­tal of 83 coun­cils re­spon­si­ble for ad­min­is­trat­ing all the hos­pi­tals. The num­ber of direc­tors and deputy direc­tors will be re­duced from 175 to 144 as a re­sult of the changes.

“We are here to fin­ish what we have started,” Lover­dos said of the changes, which will save an es­ti­mated 75 mil­lion eu­ros by next year and 150 mil­lion eu­ros by 2015. The re­forms will be put to pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion for the next two weeks in a process that will also in­clude talks with doc­tors.

Lover­dos did not rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of fur­ther changes. “This is the first step and if it works, we can go deeper.”

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