Doctors extend strike action

Striking doctors employed with the Social Security Foundation (IKA) said on Thursday that they would press on with their strike action while hospital doctors heralded rolling 24-hour walkouts through next Thursday to protest the government’s plans to radically reform the debt-ridden state health sector.

IKA social security fund doctors on Thursday continued occupying the Health Ministry for a third day after a breakdown in their talks with the government.

The doctors forced Health Minister Andreas Loverdos into meeting with them on Wednesday but the minister refused to meet their demands, which included withdrawing a bill reforming the public health sector.

The legislation includes plans for the improvement of the hospital procurement process, the merging of state hospitals with clinics run by social security funds and the computerization of the accounting departments.

On Wednesday Loverdos responded to the IKA doctors’ strike action by announcing that people insured with IKA will be able to visit doctors who work for two other major funds without charge.