CULTURE

Nikitas Kaklamanis: ‘All must have care when they need it’

“To the health of heath’ was the toast at an informative discussion between Athens University professor and Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis and Kathimerini Chairman Aristides Alafouzos, Yiannis Alafouzos of SKAI radio, and Kathimerini editors at the company’s offices in Neo Faliron. The minister proposed that primary healthcare be enshrined in legislation. In response to the suggestion that hospitals should take priority because cases there can develop into major issues, Kaklamanis replied: «No, I’m not going to fall into the same trap as so many others have done. I’m not after easy applause. Leave that to others. Every member of the public must have care when they need it.» His long experience as an oncologist-radiologist in public hospitals has helped him, he explained, more than his involvement in the health sector during the long years in opposition. Upgrading the treatment of emergency cases, which must be dealt with according to their severity and not by their priority number as they currently are, is another goal of his, as is improving hospital infrastructure and the smooth functioning of the National First Aid center (EKAB). Eloquent, decisive and daring, Kaklamanis is a politician and a doctor, and as such was deemed most suitable for the hot seat of the Health Ministry. He refuses to identify the National Health System with the problem of patients accommodated on gurneys when beds are not available. We have wasted a lot of time; we should have listened to Professor Spyros Doxiadis, who said: «Large hospitals have gurneys because all patients want to go to them; there are beds in regional hospitals.»