Sur­vey records the com­plaints of doc­tors, nurses in Greece’s cash-strapped healthcare sys­tem

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY PENNY BOULOUTZA

At any out­pa­tient depart­ment in any Greek hos­pi­tal you will find dozens of pa­tients wait­ing to be ex­am­ined and the chances of an an­gry out­burst aimed at one of the over­worked staff are al­ways pretty likely. Hos­pi­tal staff also face other pres­sures at work that are not re­lated to pa­tients but arise from the ten­sion of the job and work­ing in close prox­im­ity with other col­leagues, of­ten lead­ing to cases of bul­ly­ing and ma­li­cious gos­sip, with one in two say­ing they are un­happy at work and would like to get a job abroad.

The dif­fi­cul­ties of work­ing at a Greek hos­pi­tal were the sub­ject of a re­cent sur­vey on the Greek healthcare sys­tem con­ducted by the Greek Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion UK in co­op­er­a­tion with re­searcher Efi Si­mou from the Depart­ment of Epi­demi­ol­ogy and Bio­statis­tics at Greece’s Na­tional School of Public Health. A to­tal of 1,339 re­spon­dents – doc­tors, for the most part, and nurses – filled in elec­tronic ques­tion­naires be­tween De­cem­ber 2014 and March this year. Of the sam­ple, 33.1 per­cent were work­ing at pri­vate hos­pi­tals, 31.9 per­cent at public hos­pi­tals and 25 per­cent at univer­sity hos­pi­tals.

A wor­ry­ing 44.3 per­cent of the re­spon­dents claimed that they were not at all or only a lit­tle sat­is­fied with their ca­reer prospects, fol­lowed by 44.2 per­cent who were “quite sat­is­fied” and 11.5 per­cent who were “very sat­is­fied.” At least half were pos­i­tively in­clined to seek­ing work abroad, with 30.3 per­cent say­ing that they saw such a prospect as be­ing “very pos­i­tive” and 26.3 per­cent as “quite pos­i­tive.” Only one in six, or 15.2 per­cent, of re­spon­dents were against the idea. The per­cent­age of those who would con­sider start­ing their own busi­ness was also high, at 54 per­cent.

Ap­prox­i­mately half the women who par­tic­i­pated in the study said that they didn’t feel they were given the same op­por­tu­ni­ties as their male coun­ter­parts when it came to spe­cial­iza­tion. Specif­i­cally, 31 per­cent said that they could have had more op­por­tu­ni­ties and 17.2 per­cent clearly stated that they were dis­crim­i­nated against be­cause of their gen­der. In the depart­ment of surgery, gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion seemed to be even worse, with just 28.8 per­cent of fe­male re­spon­dents say­ing they had the same op­por­tu­ni­ties as their male col­leagues.

Mean­while, one in three men (34.2 per­cent) and two in five women (42.2 per­cent) said they had ex­pe­ri­enced bul­ly­ing and in­tim­i­da­tion in the work­place. On the is­sue of sex­ual ha­rass­ment, 34.2 per­cent of fe­male re­spon­dents said they had been vic­tims, com­pared to 9 per­cent of the men, while 58.6 per­cent of the women said they had been the sub­ject of ma­li­cious gos­sip, com­pared

clearly in­di­cates that Greek hos­pi­tals have in­ad­e­quate sup­port mech­a­nisms for staff, with just two in 10 re­spon­dents say­ing they had re­ceived some form of sup­port fol­low­ing vic­tim­iza­tion and the re­main­der say­ing that they had re­ceived sup­port only oc­ca­sion­ally and most of­ten from other col­leagues. with 50.4 per­cent of the men.

Hu­mil­i­a­tion and ridicule was iden­ti­fied as a prob­lem for 35.4 per­cent of the women and 30 per­cent of the men, while 34.5 per­cent of the fe­male re­spon­dents said they felt ex­cluded by their col­leagues, com­pared with 28.5 per­cent of the men.

The study clearly in­di­cates that Greek hos­pi­tals have in­ad­e­quate sup­port mech­a­nisms for staff, with just two in 10 re­spon­dents say­ing they had re­ceived some form of sup­port fol­low­ing vic­tim­iza­tion and the re­main­der say­ing that they had re­ceived sup­port only oc­ca­sion­ally and most of­ten from other col­leagues.

Com­ment­ing on the find­ings of the study, the head of the Greek Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion UK and a PhD can­di­date at Im­pe­rial Col­lege Lon­don, Gre­gory Makris, said that “gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion and bul­ly­ing should not be tol­er­ated in any work en­vi­ron­ment and par­tic­u­larly in a sen­si­tive and im­por­tant sec­tor such as that of healthcare, where such be­hav­ior be­tween col­leagues could easily be passed on to the doc­tor-pa­tient re­la­tion­ship.”

Makris noted that they sur­vey was aimed at de­tail­ing the mag­ni­tude of the prob­lem and said he be­lieved that “it can and should act as a wake-up call for the Min­istry of Health and med­i­cal and nurs­ing as­so­ci­a­tions so that they fur­ther in­ves­ti­gate these is­sues as part of a broader need to im­prove work­ing con­di­tions and train­ing at Greek hos­pi­tals.

“Any­thing less would show that they are sim­ply in­dif­fer­ent or in part re­spon­si­ble for a sit­u­a­tion that is an af­front to all of us.”

came to Marc As­sael, pro­fes­sor of ther­mo­phys­i­cal prop­er­ties, about a year ago, when he was at a bar where ac­claimed mez­zoso­prano Kas­san­dra Di­mopoulou sang an aria while min­gling with the crowd. ‘It was won­der­ful; she al­most trans­ported us to the time when the opera was writ­ten. I thought it would be in­ter­est­ing to do some­thing like that in class,’ As­sael told Kathimerini.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.