Contracts between 700 doctors’ surgeries and the main public healthcare provider, EOPYY, were canceled on Friday by the government, which is even thinking of shutting down the organization altogether due to its ongoing dispute with staff.
A day after doctors working for EOPYY said they would extend a strike that began on Monday into next week, Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis announced on Friday the cancellation of 700 contracts. The doctors are protesting Georgiadis’s plans to include them in a public sector mobility scheme.
Friday’s move is one of several the ministry has planned in order to force the doctors to reconsider their protest. The last option in this scheme is for EOPYY to be shut down completely, much as public broadcaster ERT was in June, and to be replaced by a new organization that would only employ administrative staff as it would purchase health services on behalf of the state.
“My door is open for negotiations,” said Georgiadis. “The government cannot allow people to think they are a special cases and that everyone else is less important.”
However, EOPYY doctors indicated that they had no plans to call off their strike or enter talks with the minister. “We intend to strike until December 9, as planned, because we refuse to give our consent to a nightmarish reality that aims to dismantle healthcare,” the doctors’ federation said in a statement.