State doctors hit by pay delays

Doctors at state hospitals, who have already seen their salaries drop by about a third, now have to put up with delays in being paid for their – reduced – duty shifts.

Doctors who work with Greece’s National Health System (ESY) still have not received payment for working emergency shifts between November and February, according to the report.

Speaking to Kathimerini, the president of the Federation of Hospital Doctors in Greece (OENGE), Dimitris Varnavas, said that the total sum owed to the doctors by the state is estimated at more than 130 million euros.

Officials at the Ministry of Health say they submitted the documents necessary for the payments to go through on February 10. They say emergency shifts between December and February will be compensated by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, officials at the ministry said authorities are working in cooperation with the Finance Ministry to open the way for the doctors to be paid for their November duty shifts.

“Reductions of so-called special salaries have been effect [since the beginning of] March,” Varnavas said, adding that retroactive cuts combined with higher taxes have seriously eroded doctors’ incomes.

“It’s only natural that the doctors’ morale and their will to contribute is starting to wane,” he said.

The state budget for emergency shifts is also in decline. From 370 million euros in 2012, the sum has this year come down to 323 million.

The economic crisis – Greece is currently in its sixth year of recession – has pushed the country’s healthcare system to the brink, leaving state clinics without crucial materials and equipment.

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