Acrimony over ICU study persists

PM looking to set record straight in budget debate amid fallout sparked by mortality report 

Acrimony over ICU study persists

Despite the fact that Saturday’s debate in Parliament is about the budget, the main focus of attention will be the pandemic and the study published this week concerning the mortality rates of Covid patients treated in intensive care units which sparked a political storm.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to reiterate that he was not aware of the study’s conclusions before it was published and the government would in any case continue to do is what is necessary to strengthen the National Health System.

The study authored by Sotiris Tsiodras, the head of infectious diseases at the National Public Health Organization, and epidemiologist Theodoros Lytras, professor of public health at the European University of Cyprus, found that “that in-hospital mortality of severely ill Covid-19 patients is adversely affected by high patient load even without exceeding capacity, as well as by regional disparities.”

Minister of State Akis Skertsos gave a foretaste on Friday of the government’s intentions.

“There was a lot of noise about a study that does not bring anything new. The government has repeatedly taken a stand on these issues, taken initiatives and implemented policies that strengthen the National Health System and address the problems identified by the study,” he said. 

“What does the study identify? Pressure on the National Health System when it is overloaded and a burden and inequality at the regional level. Both issues had been raised at the highest level, by the prime minister himself, long before the study was prepared,” he said.

For her part, Deputy Health Minister Mina Gaga said a day earlier that the study was incomplete and “weak.”

It was also announced Friday that the study has been included in the case file of the ongoing investigation conducted by the Prosecutor’s Office of First Instance into the situation at ICUs.

Meanwhile the agenda of Saturday’s debate will include new measures to support households due to the energy crisis. 

Kathimerini understands that a 30% discount will be announced on gas bills, an improvement on the 16% for October and November.

At the same time there will be an extension of the electricity allowance for December from 39 to 45 euros, and it is expected to be extended into the first quarter of 2022.

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