Hospital workers warn against closure of psychiatric hospitals

Public hospital workers could hold prolonged protest action if measures to streamline the public health sector affect the operation of mental health facilities, their union POEDN, said.

The warning comes after a decision at the Health Ministry to shut down one of the country’s largest psychiatric clinics, in Dafni, western Attica, and turn it into a general hospital.

POEDN said that due to over-crowding at the country’s specialized psychiatric clinics, some 20 percent of mental patients are being treated in psychaitric wards at general hospitals, which are not equipped to provide long-term care.

“Psychiatric and general hospitals are at 140 percent capacity in terms of the beds reserved for patients with serious mental illnesses,” POEDN said.

“At least nine more units need to be opened immediately at the capital’s general hospitals and there cannot be any closures,” the union added.

POEDN also said that the Health Ministry’s plan to have the Dafni clinic’s services distributed among different general hospital in and around Athens is unrealistic as they do not meet the specifications set out by the ministry itself.