Strict guidelines from Health Ministry

Strict guidelines for hospital supplies have been issued recently by the Health Ministry to the presidents of the PESY and hospital directors. Indeed, in the last few meetings between Deputy Health Minister Elpida Tsouri and PESY presidents, it was made clear that the way they handle supply-related issues would reflect on their efficiency in running the country’s hospitals and, therefore, their position on the payroll. In an interview with Kathimerini, Tsouri noted: «Law 2955/01 was the first real effort to instill some order and discipline into the hospital supply system. The law made several drastic alterations, which due to the system’s past inertia need time to be absorbed. Over the past 18 months, the ministry has been placing emphasis on putting an end to contract extensions and limiting direct orders. We have succeeded to a significant degree. Now, they are the exception rather than the rule. There are, however, cases of bad management that we need to clamp down on further.» Commenting on the large number of direct orders in 2002, Tsouri said: «The law gave a deadline of December 31, 2001, to end all contract extensions and proceed to a system of tenders. This two-month period between the time when the law came into effect and the deadline was too short and made it impossible for the tenders to be completed. But, throughout 2002, strict guidelines were given regarding the direction that the tender system should take.» «Indeed, this was suggested as one of the main issues on which the presidents of the PESY would be judged. At the same time, we have obliged them to submit reviews on the course of the tenders and contract extensions, while they also have to justify the reasons that led them to extend contracts and make direct orders. The reviews will have to be submitted every six months and we are expecting the first results within the next few days. Finally, we have ordered an in-depth inquiry into the allocation of funds as of 1999, by hospital, so that we may have a complete picture of how these allocations were handled, which hospitals are presenting a problem and why.»