The special rapporteur on equal access to healthcare at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Swiss socialist Liliane Maury Pasquier, on Monday called on Greek authorities to make immediate improvements to the quality of care provided at the capital’s Korydallos Prison hospital, which serves all of the country’s penitentiaries, following reports of squalid conditions.
“I am very concerned at the insalubrious conditions of inmates at the Korydallos prison hospital in Athens, reported in the media,” Pasquier said. “The hospital, which was designed to cater for 60 persons, is said to currently be housing 200 prisoners, most of whom are allegedly HIV-positive or suffering from contagious diseases such as tuberculosis and hepatitis. In such conditions, it is impossible to ensure that prisoners receive appropriate treatment, not to mention the fact that overcrowding obviously contributes to the spreading of contagious diseases, thereby endangering the lives of all prisoners in the hospital.”
“The right to health is a fundamental human right and the State must guarantee everyone equal access to appropriate healthcare,” Pasquier added. “This applies in particular to prisoners who are entirely under the authority and responsibility of the State. I therefore call on the Greek government to improve the living conditions of prisoners at the Korydallos prison hospital as soon as possible.”
The Korydallos hospital is the only facility inside the penitentiary system where sick inmates can be housed. The institution has seen a dramatic increase in the number of HIV positive inmates, who serve their sentences in the hospital even if they are not otherwise sick. Staff say about 140-150 of those held there are HIV positive, The Associated Press reported recently.
While preparing her report, Pasquier visited Greece and noted the negative impact of austerity measures on access to healthcare.