Tsipras heralds ‘landmark’ plan for healthcare

Tsipras heralds ‘landmark’ plan for healthcare

Speaking of an “institutional intervention of landmark significance,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras heralded on Wednesday the creation of a new primary healthcare system to be based on local health centers staffed with general practitioners.

The aim is to set up 239 such centers by the end of the year, employing 3,000 family doctors and nursing staff, Tsipras said in a speech at a health center in Thessaloniki.

The first 60 of those centers are to start operating by the summer, the premier said, noting that poorer areas will be prioritized.

“If you were to ask me what I want to be left behind after the years of governance by SYRIZA and ANEL,” he said, referring to junior coalition partner Independent Greeks, “I would say a very essential landmark health sector reform with the creation of primary healthcare.”

Tsipras also took the opportunity to lash out at the political opposition, accusing previous governments of having a plan for “the passive privatization of the health sector.”

As for the national federation of Greek hospital workers (POEDIN), which has railed against the current government for cutbacks in the health sector, Tsipras hit back, calling it “a trade union that has secured privileges.”

The prime minister added that his government remained determined to fight corruption in the health sector, referring to alleged scandals embroiling the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) and the Swiss pharmaceuticals firm Novartis. “Everything will come to light,” he said.

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