A recent study into the distribution of medical and nursing staff at Greece’s cash-strapped public hospitals has found that contrary to popular belief, there is no significant shortage of doctors and that patients can get the kind of attention they need through a shakeup of the system.
The study, conducted by the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine with the assistance of Athens Medical School and the World Health Organization, found that pathology units are more understaffed than cardiological and psychiatric units and that the hospitals of Macedonia in northern Greece have the biggest shortage in nursing staff around the country, for example.
The study found that while the average for the National Health System (ESY) is one doctor per two patients, there are parts of Greece, such as Piraeus and the islands of the Aegean where medical personnel is stretched much more thinly, and others, such as in parts of Attica, where there are as many doctors as there are nurses.
The institute suggests that the distribution of hospital staff can be rationalized with the hiring of 3,000 new nurses with the aim of bringing the nationwide average to 2 per 1,000 residents from the current 1.79 per 1,000 residents.
As far as doctors are concerned, the study suggests that transfers from hospitals that are well staffed with medical personnel to those that are struggling to meet demand should be sufficient to cover any gaps in healthcare without requiring more hirings.