Doctors at state hospitals will start receiving paying patients in the afternoons from the beginning of next year, according to a draft ministerial decision made public yesterday that is intended to make full use of hospital facilities while legally providing a boost for doctors’ salaries. As of January 1, doctors will be able to treat patients two afternoons a week, provided they already receive patients in the morning. Fees will vary according to doctors’ rank and specialization, while Athens and Thessaloniki hospitals will charge more than country hospitals. With the exception of surgeons, visits to all National Health System and university doctors at hospitals in Attica and Thessaloniki will cost between 90 euros (31,000 drachmas) and 45 euros. The rate for the rest of the country will range from 75 euros (25,500 drachmas) to 30 euros. Visits to surgeons in Attica and Thessaloniki will cost between 130 euros (44,300 drachmas) and 65 euros. Minor surgery that does not require patients to stay in hospital will cost 50 euros. During his two-day visit, Prodi is expected to stress that, although Brussels would prefer a political solution, its absence will not prevent the republic’s accession.