Hospital union bemoans cuts since start of bailouts

Hospital union bemoans cuts since start of bailouts

Responding to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s declaration on Tuesday that Greece is closing the door on austerity, the country’s union of public hospital workers (POEDIN) said the impact of years of belt-tightening on the health sector has been devastating.

Since 2010, when Greece signed its first international bailout, the number of permanent employees at hospitals has been slashed by 25,000, POEDIN said, adding that state funding for hospitals this year was 786 million euros compared with 1.5 billion euros in 2015, when the coalition of leftist SYRIZA and right-wing Independent Greeks came to power.

Half of the equipment in state hospitals has exceeded its life expectancy, the union added.

POEDIN also stressed the acute doctor shortages on the islands. On Ithaca, for instance, which Tsipras visited on Tuesday to make his speech, the health center has just six doctors, three of whom are set to retire this year, POEDIN said.

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