There has been an underwhelming response to the call for doctors to staff the new local health units being created by the government, which is blaming the lack of interest on the high number of healthcare professionals that have left the country.
The government recently advertised 956 positions for general practitioners and pathologists at the 239 health units it wants to set up. Only 364 candidates responded. There are 239 positions for pediatricians but only 219 applications were made. None was received for jobs on the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kos, Kalymnos and Naxos.
Health Minister Andreas Xanthos said the main reason for the poor response is that around 17,500 doctors have left Greece in the last seven years. Alternate General Secretary for Health Sotiris Vardaros suggested the apparent lack of interest is because some doctors’ associations are against the new system.
According to Georgia Economopoulou, a board member at the Hellenic Health Services Management Association who presented the data, potential applicants were deterred by uncertainty as contracts are only for an initial two years, and the possibility of earning elsewhere more than the 1,700 euros per month net that doctors working at the health units will be paid. Economopoulou said there will likely be applicants for the positions that have remained vacant if they are advertised again.