ECONOMY

Vassilis G. Apostolopoulos: Building an ‘all-weather’ Greece

vassilis-g-apostolopoulos-building-an-all-weather-greece

ATHENS MEDICAL GROUP

The global health crisis has brought us up against unprecedented conditions. In Greece, the National Health System – already considerably weakened by the economic crisis and the bailout – could not withstand the burden of the pandemic, so the emphasis had to be placed on prevention. A plan to that effect was therefore promptly drafted and, concurrently, a considerable effort was made to strengthen the infrastructure at the hospitals of reference, with additional intensive care units and all the necessary equipment.

At the Athens Medical Group, we decided, from the outset of the crisis, to actively contribute in this crucial national battle, offering the Peristeri Clinic, one of our five ultramodern hospitals in Attica, to the Ministry of Health, until June, at no cost. In doing so, we were the first private health group tο lend support to the state in this unparalleled crisis, thus setting the example, out of a sheer sense of patriotic duty and corporate social responsibility.

At the same time, we set the safety of our staff, doctors and patients as our foremost priority, and we were the first in the health sector to take timely measures to keep COVID-19 out of our hospitals, by creating our own, new protocols, building on the existing international experience, bibliography and best practices. We created and adopted the necessary safety clauses before the official guidelines had even been drafted. We have therefore remained “Covid-free,” a major success that has consolidated the Athens Medical Group’s position among the model providers that are internationally exchanging know-how over the best practices in managing the pandemic.

Financially, the state’s decision to suspend all planned surgeries, brought about a nosedive in the sector. At a significant cost, but with a clear conscience, we focused only on how the country would win this battle, and how we would keep COVID-19 out of our clinics. We refused to view it as a field of ephemeral business action by charging outpatients huge test costs, and, instead, we only used the tests for the safety of our patients and staff.

We have doubtlessly entered a new, very deep economic crisis, with great uncertainty over whether the threat of the pandemic will return and how it will evolve at an international level. The transformation of the current fragile production model must become a national priority on the basis of an articulated plan, in order to construct an “all-weather” economy that will rely on a more resilient and diversified productive model, securing, in parallel, the sufficiency of commodities and essential supplies in periods of crisis.

Greece must transform itself on the basis of cutting edge innovation, extroversion and competitiveness. We implement that every day at the Athens Medical Group, by employing and repatriating to our country the best Greek talent in contemporary medicine, constantly achieving “brain gain.” We continually invest in cutting-edge technology, research and development. We are at the forefront of Industry 4.0 in healthcare, with an active role in the development of medical technology and new instruments, consolidating our group’s position as ‘one step ahead’ in Greece and at the very frontline of developments internationally.

There is huge value in a series of sectors of our economy that remains untapped, from food and agriculture, to industry and healthcare – where activities such as clinical trials, R&D and medical tourism stand out (particularly for Greece). As a Group, we are steadily investing in these domains, and we are confident that Greece can claim a notable position in the global map.

In conclusion, we have at our disposal two additional strong tools: the considerable European support through the ‘EU Recovery Fund’; and the digital leap that Greece made these months, introducing a series of digital bypasses that can become catalysts for business development and entrepreneurial growth. These digital bypasses, will save time and resources, and secure  transparency, while offering enterprises new options to enhance their competitiveness and their export orientation.

THE COMPANY AT A GLANCE

Sector: Health
Home: Greece
Founded: 1984
Employees: 3.105
Financial Results (H1 2019): €94.423 Million
Course Of Stock (2019): +119.79%