Doctors hold work stoppage in protest

Doctors working in Athens and Piraeus hospitals called for a three-hour stoppage on Thursday. The doctors, who were expected to walk off the job from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., are protesting government plans for reforms in the public health sector.

The doctors are expressing opposition to measures recently announced by Health Minister Andreas Loverdos that will see reductions in hospital beds, doctor transfers, hospitals merging and administrative staff reduced.

Meanwhile, medical staff were expected to hold a rally at the ministry at noon.

The ministry?s proposals for the restructuring of the National Health System (ESY) includes the current number of 36,000 hospital beds going down to 32,000, with 500 being set aside for priority use by private insurance companies. Furthermore, the new measures include the number of clinics and specialist units at public hospitals being reduced from 2,000 to 1,670, with 330 of them merging and another 40 being moved in an effort to increase efficiency.