Monday Jul 28, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
31o C
23o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Island reaction

By Nikos Xydakis

A referendum planned for February 16 on the Cycladic islands of Paros and Antiparos over whether or not to maintain the public healthcare system or to go it alone should be cause for some deep reflection on the part of the government but also on the rest of society as well.

Reforms that were part of the country’s bailout deal certainly led to a partial shake-up of the National Health System (ESY), though this was mainly restricted to curbing exorbitant spending on medicines and on across-the-board cuts to shrinking public healthcare services. A recent report by the European Parliament on the social impact of fiscal austerity on four eurozone countries, in fact, laments the effect cutbacks have had on healthcare. Within the context of national and European criteria for social equality, there is nothing more reasonable than the residents of Paros and Antiparos demanding the same access to healthcare services as other parts of the country.

On the other hand, we cannot overlook the fact that many health services, and health centers especially, have suffered in the recent past from lousy management, wasteful spending and politically expedient appointments in top management positions. These problems should have been fixed by now, though not at the expense of residents on islands and other inaccessible parts of the country who now lack fundamental services such as cardiologists and orthopedists.

Greece is a nation of islands and it is its islands that have given it so many of its unique natural, intellectual, cultural and geopolitical characteristics. Islands are also a key part of the country’s capital as they are a major magnet for tourism.
Protesting Paros, beleaguered Santorini and understaffed Myconos are the big tourism factories of the Aegean. Yet neglected infrastructure and facilities make them unattractive as permanent homes, undermining their demographic rejuvenation. These problems also contribute to stunting the further growth of tourism into a form that can have a more long-term effect and be more sustainable. How could any foreigner – pensioners especially – agree to spend the off-season on the islands knowing that there is a shortage of basic healthcare facilities? How can new forms of tourism be developed, aimed at, for example, the elderly or those recovering from illness?

Fiscal adjustment is a tool, not gospel. It should be applied with flexibility, understanding about the problem and ingenious adjustments, especially when what is at stake is the survival of the country’s islands, the symbolic core of Hellenism and the Mediterranean world.


CORRECTION: Due to an editorial error, this commentary suggests that the residents of Paros and Antiparos will vote on whether or not to stay with the public healthcare system, when in fact the referendum's purpose is to register public discontent with the system and to propose ways of acting on that sentiment.

ekathimerini.com , Friday February 14, 2014 (20:45)  
Weighing all the factors
Clear rules, for everyone
Concrete measures
Education needs skills
Samaras vows to stand by Cyprus in reunification talks
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has vowed to stand by the Cypriot government in its reunification talks with Turkish-Cypriots after meeting President Nicos Anastasiades in Athens on Monday. ...
Tree collapses in village square, killing nine-year-old boy
A nine-year-old boy has been killed in a village in central Greece after a plane tree collapsed on top of him. The accident happened on Sunday night in the central square of a village called...
Inside News
Musical chairs at ECB leaves Germany on guard for doves attack
When the European Central Bank policy makers first convened in June 1998, Bundesbank President Hans Tietmeyer didnt like what he saw. The sign in the front of every seat shouldnt carry the...
Minister mulls fixing food and drink prices at non-private beaches
The government is planning to fix the prices of food and drinks sold at state-owned and municipal beaches, Deputy Development Minister Gerasimos Giakoumatos said on Monday. Speaking to Ant-1...
Inside Business
VOLLEYBALL
Volleyball national team second in European League
Much as the national volleyball team tried to repeat in the finals of the European League the feat it had achieved in the semifinals, it failed to overturn the advantage Montenegro had got f...
SOCCER
Ranieri says he has little to change in Greek national team
The Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) presented Claudio Ranieri as the new Greece coach for the next couple of years, after the Italian manager signed his contract in Athens on Friday. I l...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Musical chairs at ECB leaves Germany on guard for doves attack
2. Samaras vows to stand by Cyprus in reunification talks
3. Minister mulls fixing food and drink prices at non-private beaches
4. Multi-bill containing prior actions ready for Parliament
5. Tree collapses in village square, killing nine-year-old boy
6. Samaras to meet Cypriot President Anastasiades in Athens
more news
Today
This Week
1. Defense Minister Avramopoulos to represent Greece at European Commission
2. Euro inflation seen testing ECB patience as stimulus takes time
3. Tree collapses in village square, killing nine-year-old boy
4. Maziotis moved to Diavata Prison in Thessaloniki
5. Samaras to meet Cypriot President Anastasiades in Athens
6. Multi-bill containing prior actions ready for Parliament
Today
This Week
1. Climber dies in Mount Olympus fall
2. Greek sovereign debt at 174.1 percent of GDP in first quarter
3. Unequal after death
4. Hedge fund Dromeus turns Greek tragedy to triumph with 160 pct gain
5. Quadriplegic woman on life support 'dies due to unpaid power bills'
6. Front-line threats
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.