EOPYY doctors occupy clinics in reform protest

Doctors and other staff who work for the country’s main healthcare provider EOPYY on Monday refused to hand over control of the organization’s polyclinics, with some locking themselves inside the clinics in protest at troika-imposed plans to streamline the health sector.

Polyclinics in Ambelokipi and other parts of Athens and on several Aegean islands were among those occupied.

Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis warned that protesting doctors would be held responsible if the clinics or equipment were found to be damaged following their refusal to comply with the government’s demands.

The doctors countered that an official decision for the closure of the polyclinics has not been published in the Government Gazette, prompting Georgiadis to respond that the legislation would be published within 24 hours.

His ministry’s plan is to shut down EOPYY’s system for a month to allow the transition of the healthcare provider into the new Primary Healthcare Network (PEDY). During the transition, the ministry aims to evaluate all the employees who have been put into a so-called mobility scheme to determine who will be rehired and who will be dismissed.

The protesters object to plans to put more than 8,000 workers into the scheme, which foresees forced transfers and layoffs. Doctors are also angry about being forced to choose between working for the state and maintaining their private practices. They have also highlighted the social impact of the government’s overhaul. Yesterday, EOPYY doctors noted that Greeks insured with the provider will not be able to use EOPYY’s five-digit numbers over the coming month due to the suspension of the polyclinics’ operation. Patients can use doctors loosely affiliated with EOPYY or the state health sector (ESY) over the coming weeks.