Hospitals in bid to help uninsured

Some state hospitals have started accepting unemployed citizens and others without social insurance cover on one day every week for free, Kathimerini has learned.

The initiative, which is being promoted by the Federation of Greek Hospital Doctors’ Unions, aims to cover the cost of medical tests and serious operations for citizens who do not have access to free healthcare. The federation’s president, Dimitris Varnavas, told Kathimerini that unionists have been in talks with the managers of several state hospitals about devoting one day every week to uninsured patients. “There have already been positive steps,” he said, noting that the oncological clinic of the capital’s Sotiria Hospital accepts uninsured patients every Wednesday while the Sismanogleio is planning a similar initiative.

The capital’s Evangelismos is also said to be considering joining the scheme. A cardiologist at the hospital, Ilias Sioras, told Kathimerini that an increasing number of people without social insurance cover – chiefly those who have lost their jobs due to the impact of the economic crisis – are unable to meet the costs of medical tests or operations. Those who cannot pay on the spot have the bill sent to their home. But many complain that they cannot pay later either, Sioras said.

In the event of emergencies, hospitals carry out the operations for free. But the budget set aside for these emergency procedures has dwindled. In the case of Evangelismos, it is 100,000 euros, compared to 2 million euros three years ago.

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