NEWS

Hospitals lack air conditioning amid heat wave

PENNY BOULOUTZA

TAGS: Health

Apart from the fundamental and enduring problems of staff shortages and dysfunctional equipment, many of the country’s hospitals also have a problem with inadequate or nonexistent air conditioning, hospital workers claim as the first major heat wave of the summer looms. 

According to the union representing Greece’s public hospitals, POEDIN, even some of the capital’s biggest hospitals have a problem, with several wards, waiting rooms and doctors’ surgeries lacking air conditioning.

“Workers collect money to buy air conditioning units,” POEDIN said in a statement, adding that patients and their relatives often make donations or bring electric fans from home to offer some respite from the stifling heat. The union blamed Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis, who oversees the country’s hospitals, for failing to ensure that air-conditioning units are functional.

According to POEDIN, the central air-conditioning unit at the capital’s KAT hospital is inadequate for the institution’s needs, leaving several wards sweltering. Nikaia General Hospital has a similar problem with surgeries, clinics and wards lacking air conditioning.

The capital’s Gennimata Hospital has put electric fans in waiting rooms and some of the clinics to tackle the heat while the Asklipeio in Voula has had a dysfunctional central air-conditioning system since last September, POEDIN said.

Hospitals on Rhodes and Kos have dysfunctional air-conditioning units while staff at the Alexandroupoli University Hospital made donations for an air-conditioning unit. The Hatzikosta Hospital in the northwestern city of Ioannina has no air conditioning at all, with patients’ relatives bringing fans from home, according to workers.

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